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Meet the Staff: Elaine McFadden


From answering phone inquiries to photographing new acquisitions, the staff at the VHS have a wide range of talents that help make our collections accessible to the world. Who are the talented men and women of the VHS? In a series of “Meet the Staff” blog posts, we will introduce you to the people who work behind the scenes to collect, preserve, and interpret Virginia history.

Meet the Staff - Elaine McFadden headshot graphic

What is your job title?

Senior Grants Officer

When did you begin working at the VHS?

I started fresh out of college in 2008 working as a library clerk in our beautiful research library.

What are your job duties?

My main duties are as follows:

  • oversees and conducts the process of researching, conceptualization, writing, submission, and reporting for government and private grants;
  • manages and reports on the Society’s restricted funds;
  • receives all pledges and donations (cash, checks, stock gifts) that come to the Society for restricted projects

How did you become interested in history?

I blame my parents in a good way. Our family vacations were centered on museums and historic sites. We went to Colonial Williamsburg and the many Smithsonian museums. I remember long Saturday drives to Civil War battlefields around the state. My parents also put a big emphasis on knowing our family heritage. My father’s family is from the coal mines of southwest Virginia, and my mother’s is from a small town outside of Rome, Italy. All of their histories combine to make a part of my story.

Elaine McFadden with family in Williamsburg

Here I am on a trip with my family in Colonial Williamsburg. We have shared many vacations and day trips to some wonderful Virginia cultural sites. Please notice the 1990s fashion choices.

What is the favorite part of your job?

The favorite part of my job is definitely meeting members and the general public and the “high-five” moments of grant awards.

What is your favorite item in your office? Why?

My business Buddha. He is all business but knows when to relax.

Elaine McFadden and her Executive Buddah

What is your favorite historical period?

My favorite historical genre is women’s history. Really anytime and anywhere in history.

What are your hobbies?

I don’t really have many hobbies. I think I aspire to be (blank) more than I am (blank). If that makes any sense.

If you did not work at the VHS, what would you be doing?

My sister and I have always wanted to open an Italian bakery.

Extra Credit: Do you have a theme song?

Yes, “Sandstorm” by Darude. You will understand once you meet me.

Read more blog posts written by Elaine.

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