National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces Dion Brown as New President

Press Release

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces Dion Brown as New President


Will Jones
(513) 333-7558
(513) 288-4834

Jamie Glavic
(513) 333-7511
(513) 802-7355


National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces Dion Brown as New President
Brown to Join Museum in February 2018
CINCINNATI, OH (January 2, 2018) – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) has named Dion Brown as its new president effective February 26, 2018. Brown is currently the founding executive director of the National Blues Museum in St. Louis, Missouri.

“It’s an honor to join and lead the Freedom Center at this point in my career,” says Brown. “Given the challenges our society is facing, on many fronts, the mission of this vital institution is relevant now more than ever in bringing diverse points of view together in constructive dialogue.”

Brown brings a wealth of museum, management and branding experience to the position. At the National Blues Museum, Brown helped the new start-up grow and flourish being recognized by CNN, National Geographic and the New York Post as a “must see” museum. As the NURFC approaches its 15th anniversary, Brown will be responsible for the development of a comprehensive strategic plan addressing programmatic and capital needs.

“On behalf of the board of directors, we are pleased to welcome Dion to the Freedom Center,” says board chair, Rev. Damon Lynch, Jr. “His experience, leadership and vision will drive the organization forward for years to come.”

Brown became the founding executive director of the National Blues Museum in June 2015. His previous role was as the executive director of the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, Mississippi. While museum programming, tours, and attendance greatly expanded under Brown’s leadership, he simultaneously raised funds and balanced the organization’s budget and positioned it as a viable business and a strong community resource and champion. In 2013 he was recognized by the Delta Business Journal as one of its “Top Minority Business Leaders.” Prior to his leadership at the BB King Museum, Brown served as the chief operating officer for Exploration Place in Wichita, Kansas. He directed a staff of more than 70 people, and managed the day-to-day operations of the museum and its $5 million budget.

Brown holds a certificate of fundraising from the IUPUI School of Philanthropy, a bachelors of science in human resources and a masters of science in leadership from Southwestern College. He is also retired from the United States Air Force after 21 years of service.

“The Freedom Center’s role in Greater Cincinnati – and the nation – cannot be understated,” says Elizabeth Pierce, CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “Dion’s passion for the mission and dedication to community building gives me great confidence and excitement for the future.”

Former president, Dr. Clarence G. Newsome, retired from the Freedom Center in March 2017 and now serves on the board of directors. The executive search process was led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG).

To learn more about the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, visit



The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery,

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