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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

DHR Welcomes New Chief Curator

Laura Galke, DHR Chief Curator, working at an archaeological site.
Laura Galke, DHR Chief Curator, working at an archaeological site.

In September, Laura Galke joined DHR as the agency’s new chief curator. Most recently, Laura served as an archaeologist for the George Washington Foundation at George Washington’s childhood home, Ferry Farm, near Fredericksburg. Additionally, she has conducted field work throughout the Chesapeake Bay region, focusing on the historical period.

Her past experience also includes stints as a field director for cultural resource management firms, as a laboratory supervisor, field director, and instructor at Washington & Lee University, and as the assistant southern regional archaeologist in the Maryland Historical Trust’s MAC Lab (Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory).

In 2012, members of the Archeological Society of Virginia recognized her as “Archaeologist of the Year.”

Two 18th-century hair curling tongs.

Among her pursuits, Laura collects “colonial hair curling tongs,” an interest that no doubt informs her professional work, as evidenced by an article she authored, “Tressed for Success: Male Hair Care and Wig Hair Curlers at George Washington’s Childhood Home,” published in the journal Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 52, Summer/Autumn 2018.

Laura, friends and close colleagues confirm, has an upbeat demeanor and sense of humor, which makes her a good fit as well for DHR.

A proud northern Virginian, Laura was born in Falls Church and spent her school years in Prince William County. She received her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from George Mason University. Ready to attend a large anthropology department with a strong program in archaeology, Laura journeyed to Arizona State University where she was awarded her master’s degree in 1995.

Laura fills the position formerly held by Dee DeRoche, who retired from DHR last spring.

Updated December 2, 2019