CURRENT HOURS: Closed for general touring until May 2023 • Open to registered guests for camps, classes & dinners

Management Team

Ruth Haus
Ruth’s career in non-profit management spans 21 years, primarily in the arts, culture, and heritage sector. She moved to Iowa from Washington, D.C., where she was Vice President of Corporate Communications for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, worked on presidential campaigns, and was honored to serve in the George H.W. Bush Administration. Prior to LHF, Ruth was Executive Director of the Des Moines Symphony. As our President and CEO since 2008, Ruth directs the vision, strategy, and mission of our nationally recognized museum and its depiction of Midwestern rural heritage. She led the museum to achieve accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums for the first time in 2020. A first generation-American and the first in her family to attend college, Ruth received a bachelor’s in business administration from the George Washington University and a master’s in business administration from the College of William & Mary. She volunteers as a Trustee for the Hoover Presidential Foundation and a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums. Her pastimes include visiting museums and national parks, walking her faithful rescue pup Beau, researching her family ancestry, and photography.

Kasey Bunce
Director of Finance & Administration
With nine years of accounting experience in the public and private sectors, Kasey has served nonprofits all around the United States. Their missions vary, but one thing they all have in common is helping the community. Working at Living History Farms, she finds joy in seeing the excitement on visitors’ faces when they come through the doors of this one-of-a-kind, interactive outdoor museum.

Janet Clair Dennis
Co-Director of Programming
Janet has been with Living History Farms for 27 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in history from Central College in Pella and a master’s degree in historical administration from Eastern Illinois University. She has previously worked at the Bettendorf Children’s Museum in Iowa and Historic Fort Casper in Wyoming. She has a special interest in Victorian-era foodways, handwork, and culture. Outside the museum, she has volunteered for Swing Des Moines, a local nonprofit swing dancing organization, and is a member of P.E.O. She also has three cockatiels and six parakeets.

Joe Hart

Director of Facilities & Security

Joe has 16 years of security experience in the federal, state, and private sectors, including five years of active duty in an airborne unit at Fort Bragg. He grew up in Des Moines and has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Grand View University. In his spare time, he likes to take his bicycle out on local trails, shop for vinyl records at thrift stores, and work on restoring his great-grandparents’ 1919 home.

Stacie Hooker

Director of Community Engagement

Stacie brings 11 years of museum experience to Living History Farms. She holds a bachelor of arts in anthropology from Iowa State University and a master of science in business analytics from the University of Iowa. In her free time, she enjoys nature—whether hiking, tending her garden, or tailgating and cheering on the Iowa State Cyclones. From field trips back in fifth grade to more recent Walnut Hill Bluestockings games with her family, Living History Farms is the reason Stacie chose a career in museums.

Dan Jones
Co-Director of Programming
In three decades at Living History Farms, Dan has done nearly everything. He has been a summer camp counselor, café and rental worker, broom shop interpreter, supervisor, outreach coordinator, and education manager. In 2010, he became director of education.  He holds a bachelor’s in history and secondary education from Loras College and a master’s in history from Iowa State University. Prior to working at Living History Farms, he taught seventh and eighth grade social studies in Dubuque, and he continues to hold an Iowa teaching license. Originally from northeast Iowa, he counts Iowa history and the teaching of it among his professional passions.  

Jaime Nicolet Rutan
Curator of Collections, Archives & Exhibits
Jaime is a native Iowan with almost 10 years of experience in the museum field. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Iowa and a master’s in fine and decorative art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art. In her free time, Jaime enjoys painting, spoiling her two cats, and reading books on a variety of historical topics. Her favorite thing about working at Living History Farms is sharing the collection with enthusiastic visitors.

Elizabeth Keest Sedrel
Director of Marketing & Communications
Elizabeth brings more than 25 years of experience in communications to her role at Living History Farms, having previously worked for the Des Moines Register, Better Homes & Gardens, and the state of Iowa. She holds a bachelor’s in journalism from Northwestern University and a master’s in public administration from Drake University. In her spare time, she volunteers for the IMT Des Moines Marathon, binge-watches nature and history documentaries, and tries to beat her Sunday New York Times Crossword record. Her favorite thing about working at the Farms is watching our Historic Interpreters in action.



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