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Staff & Board

The Issaquah History Museums is run by a dedicated staff and board of directors. Together, the Executive Director, staff and the board work to champion the museums' vision, protect the collections, and carry out their strategic goals. In addition to staff and board, the work of interns, groups, and volunteers is essential to the operations of the museums.

Meet The IHM Staff


Karen Gath
Collections & Office Manager

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Karen joined IHM as a collections volunteer and intern in 2017, before becoming staff in 2019. Karen has a Masters of Library and Information Science degree, with a specialization in Museum Studies, from Kent State University, and has prior experience recruiting and coordinating volunteers from her role as the Theatre Director for Bellevue School District. If you think you might like to volunteer, Karen is the person to call! Karen has two grown children, Katie and James. She lives in Issaquah with her son and her darling puppy Lily.


Marwa Elkady
Office Assistant

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Need a Bio & Photo


Sam Benisch
Museum Assistant

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Need a Bio & Photo


The Board of Issaquah History Museums serves to support all aspects of the Issaquah History Museums (IHM).

Currently consisting of 8 members, the Board works as a cohesive team with the Executive Director & staff to ensure the missions and values of IHM are upheld, and that the museums fulfill their roles as, of, for, and with the City of Issaquah.


Heidi is a mental health therapist in private practice in Issaquah, where she has also lived for the last 25 years.  She holds a Master’s degree in counseling from Seattle University, and also attended the University of Washington, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology.  Both of her children, now young adults, attended K-12 in the Issaquah School district.  While still new to IHMs and the board, she is excited about the opportunity to connect in a new way with the community she has been a part of for many years, and to work to honor and preserve the history of Issaquah.


Katie Brookshire is a Senior Account Executive with Semaphore, a local networking tech company where she helps companies with their technology infrastructure to better serve their communities. She is the head track & field and assistant cross-country coach at IHS. Katie holds a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis on ESL; an Educational Specialist degree in Leadership and Organizational Change; and is nearly finished with her doctoral studies in Education. She believes in the mission of IHM and is passionate about their role in the future success of our community.

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Emily is a Volunteer Coordinator with the Northwest Railway Museum, a museum all about trains and railroad history, located in Snoqualmie, WA. She is here to learn about IHM's history and to gain experience on a board of directors - Emily believes in sharing and interpreting the histories and stories of a diverse community. With an educational and professional background in museum collections, administration, and public history, Emily hopes to be able to share that knowledge and experience while serving on a local museum board. Emily grew up in eastern Washington but resided in the American South before relocating to the Pacific Northwest.


Cara has been an active member of the Issaquah community since 2000.   She and her husband Chris have raised 2 wonderful men who went through the Issaquah School District and participated in the wonderful soccer leagues in Issaquah.  Cara has been a teacher in Issaquah for the last 16 years and currently works at The Children’s Garden preschool - which is the oldest preschool in Issaquah.  One of Cara’s strengths is bringing community together - both old and young.  


Emily Lee is an elementary educator in the Issaquah School District and enjoys making connections between IHM’s rich resources and the content students are studying in school. She believes that local history is an entry point for all members of our community to feel connected as we build that history together every day. Emily has a background in cultural anthropology and also serves on the Board of the Snoqualmie Valley History Museum.


Mark Laurance joined the IHM Board in June 2022.  Mark holds a Master’s in Astronomy and Bachelor of Science degrees in both Physics and Astronomy from the University of Washington.  Mark has worked in technology his entire career from Astronomical research to Software as a Service.  He served as a Scoutmaster and Leader in the Boy Scouts of America the past 17 years mentoring more than 2 dozen boys to the rank of Eagle Scout, including 3 of his own.  Mark is passionate about the mission of the IHM and enriching the community through its history and being a resource for growing involvement.


Linda has lived most of her life in the Bellevue/Issaquah community, recently retiring after 20 years of working for the Issaquah School District. Through her work with the Issaquah School district and involvement with her own children and grandchildren, she sees the importance of connecting youth to their community, finding ways to help them understand the past and making sure the voices of all who built the community we now share are honored and heard. She is inspired by all the different ways a museum can connect community members, not only to the

past, but also to each other.


Bio Coming Soon!


Board Member Inquiry

Interested in joining the IHM Board? That's Great! Fill out the form and one of our IHM staff will be in contact with you.

Board Inquiry

Thank You For Your Inquiry!

The mission of the Issaquah History Museums is to discover, preserve, and share the history and heritage of Issaquah and the surrounding area.


Issaquah History Museums’ staff and board members pledge to:

Statement of Anti-Racism

Throughout the nation, museums of all sizes have come forward in recent days to remind their communities that museums are not neutral. The board and staff of the Issaquah History Museums (IHM) join other Americans and fellow Issaquahns in condemning and rejecting violence against Black Americans at the hands of police and citizens alike. We stand in solidarity against racism and pledge to intentionally seek out ways to be part of the solution.

As the trusted caretakers of Issaquah’s history, we know there is much more work we can do to be truly anti-racist. We pledge to create inclusive programming and to lift up marginalized voices, whose stories deserve to be shared, preserved, and respected. In the next three months, we will lay out concrete actions we intend to take.

We are committed to presenting the authentic history of Issaquah, which means that we tell the historical truth about Issaquah’s past, even when parts of that past are reprehensible. If we are selective about the history we present, we ignore the truth of who we have been. We will represent the history of all people in the Issaquah community.

Image by Clay Banks
The mountain is out. Mount Rainier pops up in so many places on clear days in Washington s

Commitment to Our Community

Issaquah History Museums welcomes all visitors. We recognize the diverse needs of our audience and offer accessible programs and services to enable all visitors to explore the stories we interpret at Issaquah History Museums. For questions about Museum accessibility and how we can accommodate your specific needs, call (425) 392-3500 or e-mail

Get Involved Today!

You don’t have to be a board member to contribute time to the Issaquah History Museums. We encourage community members to serve on our committees, working groups and task forces. Contact us today to get in touch if you’d like to get involved with the IHM.

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