N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susi Hamilton announces the appointments of Tracey Burns as Assistant Secretary for Diversity and Inclusion and Michelle Lanier as Director of the N.C. Division of State Historic Sites and Properties.
“I am truly delighted to have both of these women in executive level positions at the department,” said Secretary Hamilton. “They both bring a great deal of experience and energy to their roles, and I’m excited to be working with them.”
Prior to joining Natural and Cultural Resources, Burns served as the Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) coordinator in the Facilities Management Department at N.C. Central University (NCCU). She helped to provide opportunities and contracts for HUB firms with the university and interacted with project managers and others at the university. She also served as director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, development director for the School of Nursing and project manager for renovation of the founder’s home while at NCCU.
Burns is not new to DNCR, previously having served the department for almost 11 years as director of cultural history for the Division of State Historic Sites and Properties, site manager at Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, and in other capacities at N.C. Transportation Museum and Somerset Place State Historic Site. She is native to Queens, N.Y., with North Carolina family roots in Washington County and also in Charleston and Beaufort, S.C.
Burns was awarded a B.A. degree in Public Administration and History, and a M.A. degree in American History, by N.C. Central University. She co-authored the book, “Sedalia and The Palmer Memorial Institute.”
Lanier most recently served as the first executive director of the N.C. African American Heritage Commission and has been a member of the senior staff of the N.C. Arts Council. She was the first curator of multicultural initiatives in the Division of State Historic Sites and Properties. Her career in cultural heritage preservation began with community-based work in Orange, Durham and Alamance counties.
In 2008, with colleagues, Lanier helped create the N.C. African American Heritage Commission by statute. She has advanced two cultural heritage trails – the African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina and Freedom Roads. She has held leadership roles with projects funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, including the Gathering Place Project and Green Books’ Oasis Spaces. Lanier was invited to Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Institute collective of thought leaders in public history in 2017.
Lanier was awarded a B.A. degree in English by Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga., and a M.A. degree in Folklore, with an emphasis on African diaspora and black southern life, by UNC-Chapel Hill. She has familial ties to Historic Stagville, Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum and many of the state’s historically black colleges and universities.
For additional information, please call (919) 807-7389.
Photo: Left, Tracey Burns; Right, Michelle Lanier