While preparing for his career in college, David J. Byrnes decided to major in history because he was always interested in the subject. When he began to look for work during his junior year, he realized that there weren’t many history education positions so he decided to look into museums. Mr. Byrnes received a Bachelor of Arts from The George Washington University in 1977 and a Master of Arts from Texas Tech University in 1979. Upon graduating, he began his career as the program director of Fort New Salem at Salem University in West Virginia and became certified in fundraising techniques through West Virginia University. From 1981 to 1993, he served as the executive director of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, CT, where he was able to participate in a lot of restoration work in the area. In 1993, he briefly joined Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT, as the director of corporate and foundation relations until 1996. He then went on to serve as the executive director of Rye Historical Society in Rye, NY, where he helped to restore a 17th century farm house. Today, Mr. Byrnes has served as the president of Midway Village & Museum Center in Rockford, IL, for nearly 20 years.
In his current position at Midway Village, Mr. Byrnes is involved with various construction projects. Since he joined the staff, the village has seen the restoration of two bars and a house; they also remolded the museum center and the exhibition wing. Outside of his primary roles in the field, Mr. Byrnes has also served on the boards and committees of several local museums. He is currently a grant reviewer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the chairman of the All Museum Marketing Committee, and the treasurer of the Association of Midwest Museums Board. For his accomplishments as a museum administrator, Mr. Byrnes was presented with a Distinguished Service Award in 2010. Civically, Mr. Byrnes has been appointed president of the Rotary Club of Rockford and he maintains affiliation with Rotary International and a local recreational affinity group. In his spare time outside of work, he enjoys antique hunting.
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