Staff & Board of Directors

Please feel free to contact any of the museum’s staff members at their respective e-mail address or call our main number at 301-774-0022. For general inquiries, please e-mail us at our general mailbox and someone will get back to you shortly.

Allison Weiss, Executive Director

Allison Weiss, Executive DirectorAllison Weiss has been the Executive Director of Sandy Spring Museum since May 2012, having worked in the field of museums since 1995. Incorporating a world view she acquired while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa and obtaining a master’s degree in cultural anthropology, she sees history museums through the lens of a community builder.  Instead of focusing on the traditional model of static exhibits and passive programming, she is dedicated to turning local history museums into centers of community engagement. Recognizing that the most valuable learning experience is one that allows for participation through a sense of personal ownership, she has paved the way for individuals and organizations to co-create with the museum.

Allison’s last position was as executive director of the Southern Oregon Historical Society, where she was largely credited with the successful turn-around of the Society after it lost its sole source of funding. During her tenure, her work was recognized by the TCC Group, who invited her to co-present a state-wide webinar on adaptive leadership.

“Sandy Spring Museum is community-activated. Nearly everything that goes on here is at the behest of the community. Is it too idealist to say that museums can help make the world a better place? I really believe that. That’s why I’m here.”

Diane Bush, Director of Operations

Diane Bush, Director of OperationsDiane Bush has been the Director of Operations at Sandy Spring Museum since 2004. She manages the museum’s accounting and finances as well as overseeing personnel, membership, and the Strawberry Festival, among many other things. When not at the museum, she does accounting for the Cedar Ridge Community Church and The Great Wicomico Oyster Company, a family-owned oyster business.

Prior to joining the museum staff she held similar positions for several small companies, including a pharmaceutical company and construction/development firm. Her volunteer activities include being the Blake High School After- Prom chair, a PTA officer for many years, and her church’s treasurer. She is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and received her BA in economics from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and her MBA in Finance from Fordham University.

Phillip Alexander Downie, Director of Special Events & Facility Rentals

Phillip Alexander Downie, Director of Special Events & Facility RentalsA Sandy Spring native, Phillip Alexander Downie joined Sandy Spring Museum in May 2015 and serves as the Director of Special Events and Facility Rentals. In this role, Phillip is responsible for supervising the setting, staging, and staffing of all museum special events, as well as facility rentals. Additionally, Phillip coordinates facility rental requests from conception to completion, including, but not limited to, corporate retreats, bar and bat mitzvahs, conferences, meetings, and weddings. He also manages and coordinates museum facilitators, part-time staff, docents, and volunteers.

Prior to joining the Sandy Spring Museum team Phillip was a state campaign manager and fundraiser. Phillip has over 12 years of experience in the special events industry and is also the Operations Director of Gourmet Delights by Diane, a family-owned gourmet pastry and desserts catering company. Phillip is also passionate about access to healthcare and healthcare policy issues. He has a bachelor of arts degree from UMBC in Health Administration and Public Policy and is a certified patient rehabilitation program case manager with WIN family services.

Lauren Peirce, Director of Marketing

PhotoLauren Peirce joined the Sandy Spring Museum in August 2018, and serves as the Director of Marketing. Lauren manages the branding of the museum, showcasing it as a community gathering place by building awareness of the experiences in arts and culture we offer.  Whether it is developing the marketing strategies and promoting the Strawberry Festival, the Summer Beer Garden Series, exhibits or the Fall Gala, there is always plenty to talk about!  Additionally, Lauren works with local businesses to create partnerships that help not only promote the role of Sandy Spring Museum in the community, but create opportunities for those businesses to grow.

Lauren brings to the team an extensive background in communications. After receiving her BA in Television Production from Salisbury University, Lauren began her career at WMDT47 News in Salisbury, MD as a Producer; leaving the industry in 2014 as the Executive Producer. As a native of Rockville, she relocated back to Montgomery County, landing in Olney. Advancing her career, Lauren then spent nearly 3 years as a Media Buyer with an advertising agency, before moving to direct marketing for a team of financial advisors in Bethesda, MD. Outside of the office, you’re likely to see her about town with her family, so be sure to stop and say hello!

Sandy Spring Museum Board of Directors

  • David Hickson: President
  • Ralph Portee: Vice President
  • Laurel Chiat: Secretary
  • Dave Havrilla: Treasurer
  • John Austin
  • Amy Cohen
  • Robert Crim
  • Susan Ellis
  • Bruce Evans
  • Roy Glixon
  • Mimi Hassanein
  • Kerri Huso
  • Angie MacAlpine
  • Andrea Mohr
  • Jenna Paukstis
  • Donna Sampson Rawlings
  • Jeff Ross
  • Mehmet Saracoglu
  • Jerry Therrien
  • Hemant Virkar
  • Naomi Yadin-Mendick
  • Jenny Zucker