Kristen (Trout) Pawlak’s passion for the preservation of Civil War landscapes and artifacts is unmistakable. At Gettysburg, Pawlak – a History major and Civil War Era Studies minor – was active in Civil War programs and served as a Brian C. Pohanka Intern at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, leading educational programs that encouraged young people to make meaningful connections to the past through placing themselves in the shoes of historical figures.
From a young age, Pawlak also worked beside her father, Mark, as he sought to restore St. Louis’s 1905 Jefferson Barracks Post Exchange Building and open it as a museum dedicated to preserving and interpreting Missouri’s often-neglected Civil War history. Upon graduation in 2014, Pawlak joined the newly-opened Missouri Civil War Museum’s staff as Program Coordinator and Manager, and began working towards a M.A. in Nonprofit Leadership from Webster University. Juggling responsibility for daily museum operations and program development with exhibition research and design, cultivating the museum’s donor base and fundraising for preservation activities, Pawlak quickly amassed experience in nearly every aspect of museum work.
In September 2017, Pawlak accepted a new job with the Civil War Trust. As CWT’s Development Associate for Stewardship, she will cultivate and manage the Trust’s most important asset and primary funding source – its membership. Says Pawlak, “It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to work for an organization that aims to preserve hallowed ground. At the Missouri Civil War Museum, I had the opportunity to help save historic properties, artifacts and stories. Now, at the Civil War Trust, I have a chance to preserve the battlefields themselves, the ground on which thousands bled and gave their lives. It’s immensely humbling.”