National Blues Museum Staff
Founding Executive Director
In June 2015, Dion Brown became the Founding Executive Director of the National Blues Museum in St. Louis, Missouri. His previous role was as the Executive Director of the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, Mississippi.
While at the B.B. King Museum he furthered the vision of Mr. King through the development of signature programs including the “Art of Living Smart,” recognized as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program. While Museum programming, tours, and attendance greatly expanded under Brown’s leadership, he simultaneously reduced the organization’s debt (which exceeded $1M) and positioned it as a viable business and a strong community resource and champion. In 2013 he was recognized by the Delta Business Journal as one of its “Top Minority Business Leaders.”
Prior to his leadership at the BB King Museum, Brown served as the Chief Operating Officer for Exploration Place in Wichita, Kansas. He directed a staff of more than 70 people, and managed the day-to-day operations of the museum and its $5 million budget.
Dion holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Magna Cum Laude) in Human Resources and a Masters of Science degree in Leadership from Southwestern College. He is also retired from the United States Air Force after 21 years of service. He has been married to Darla (Williams) Brown for 30 years, and has three children and two grandchildren.
Visitor Experience Coordinator
Dave Beardsley serves as the Visitor Experience Coordinator for the museum. In this role, Dave has an important job of managing the museum’s volunteer programs, as well as providing marketing support to include community outreach, guiding group tours and assisting with the music performances.
A former firefighter and paramedic, Beardsley’s longtime passion for the blues rose to the forefront of his life back in the early nineties, when he helped put together a first aid team for the Blues Heritage Festival in St. Louis. His immersion in the festival atmosphere allowed him to connect with performers and players in the local blues scene, and in 1997 he served on the board of that year’s St. Louis Blues Heritage Festival. In 2000 he created STLBlues.net, a multifaceted website that has gained international recognition as one of the top e-destinations for blues news and events, and is also a place to find and book local talent. In 2008, the website was recognized by the Blues Foundation in Memphis with a “Keeping the Blues Alive” award in the internet category. In 2010, he helped co-found the National Blues Museum, and has remained heavily involved in the promotion and fundraising of the Museum. Beardsley is also a member of the St. Louis Blues Society.
Gift Shop Manager
Jakki Brown is the Retail Lead at the National Blues Museum. In this role, she manages the sales and displays of merchandise as well as overseeing ticket sales for live performances and concerts. Brown has worked as an entrepreneur for 26 years in the fields of cosmetology and retail sales. In her spare time she continues to enjoy empowering women through the beauty of hairstyles and Mary Kay cosmetics. Jakki spent her childhood in the St. Louis area, later graduating from Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis Indiana. She currently resides in Edwardsville Illinois. Married to Eric Brown for 30 years, she is the mother of three and likes to call herself “A Five Star Gramma.”
Director of Internal Affairs
Jacqueline K. Dace is the Director of Internal Affairs for the National Blues Museum. In this role, she is responsible for managing, assessing, and growing the National Blues Museum’s educational programming. Prior to arriving at the Museum, she served as Project Manager for the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Jackson, MS and Collections Manager at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, IL. Dace also worked with the Missouri Historical Society as the Curator of African American History and was an adjunct professor at Washington University (St. Louis) for six years in the department of Afro-African American Studies.
Dace is a recipient of the Who’s Who in Black St. Louis Award; the Annie Malone Children and Family Services Center Advocate; the Hollywood and the Kansas City Black Film Festival Award; and the National Arts Strategies Fellowship. In 2012, she was selected to participate in the inaugural Public History Institute, developed by Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition and the National Museum of African American History and Culture at Yale University; she served as a Practitioner with the W. K. Kellogg Foundation’s Racial Equity program.
Dace is a graduate of Webster University and a St. Louis native.
Terry L. Hardin is the Operations Manager for the National Blues Museum. In this role, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the museum, maintains building security, and serves as the building coordinator and primary contact for all facility issues. Hardin has built an extensive career in security and investigation whose prior appointments include Confluence Charter Schools, Presence Covenant Medical Center, and the US Army Military Police/Special Reaction Team. Hardin worked as a firefighter and fire prevention specialist with the Decatur, IL Fire Department, as a forensic investigator and evidence specialist at Unified Investigations & Sciences, and as a fire protection systems manager at a major plastic container manufacturing company.”
Hardin is a US Army Veteran and graduate of the US Army Military Police Academy. He is an Illinois native.
Sales and Events Manager
Casey Jolley is the Sales and Events Manager at the National Blues Museum. In this role, she manages sponsorship sales, memberships recruitment, engagement and retention for the Museum. Additionally, Casey is also in charge of rentals within the facility. Prior to working at the National Blues Museum, Casey worked at Whitfield School as the Alumni Relations and Special Events Coordinator, where she was responsible for the alumni council and parents council as well as day to day set up needs around the school. Casey is also a personal trainer and group fitness teacher in her “spare time”. A St. Louis native, Casey is an alumna of DePauw University with a BS in Communications and Film Studies.
Debbie Krall is the controller for the National Blues Museum. In this role, she is responsible for all financial requirements and reporting for the museum. She is a Purdue University graduate with a major in Accounting. Before moving to the St. Louis area Debbie’s career concentrated primarily in construction accounting, rounded out by 5 years with a federally funded non-profit organization . She came to the museum after being employed by a prominent development company in downtown St. Louis. Debbie is a lifelong supporter of Shriners Hospital for Children and an avid jazz and blues fan.
Assistant Education Coordinator
As Assistant Education Coordinator, Kirk assists in developing museum related curriculum as well as the planning, coordinating, and development of both onsite and offsite educational programming. Kirk graduated from Missouri State University with a B.S.Ed. in History Education. He decided to pursue a career in education to make a difference in people’s lives and make an impact on the community. Kirk first heard the blues as a child and was inspired to play drums and guitar. He has been a student of the blues ever since.
Jeri Peterson is the Executive Assistant at the National Blues Museum. In this role, she is responsible for supporting the leadership team in all operational aspects including talent, membership and donor cultivation. Jeri has been a part of the St. Louis music, arts and culture and higher education community for many years. She has worked with The Ralph Butler Band, Dance St. Louis, Stages St. Louis, St. Louis Black Repertory Company and the University of Missouri – St. Louis, to name a few. She has served on the boards of Art St. Louis and International Live Entertainment Association – St. Louis Chapter (formerly International Special Events Society – St. Louis Chapter). Jeri has her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing management from Utica College of Syracuse University. A native New Yorker, Jeri enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
Gift Shop Associate
Lori J. Williams is the Gift Shop Associate at the National Blues Museum. Her role is to welcome every customer, assist them in any way possible to make their museum and concert experience wonderful. Lori has 12 years gift shop management experience. This native St. Louisian is the proud mother of a son. She is a graduate of Lindbergh High School, a cosmetology instructor and owner of Chacola Jewelry.
Contact the National Blues Museum
Located at 615 Washington Ave. St. Louis, MO 63101