MEET OUR TEAM
Our team is dedicated to instilling understanding and respect for the indigenous cultures of the southwest.
Executive Director of the Smoki Museum
Cindy Gresser serves as the Executive Director of the Smoki Museum and has since April 2009. She has been involved with the Smoki Museum since 2002, formerly serving as President of the Board of Trustees for three years (2004-2007). She was also the President of Prescott Area Arts and Humanities Council, is a Past Sheriff of the Prescott Corral of the Westerners, serves on the Tourism Advisory Committee for the City of Prescott and is President of the Rotary Club of Prescott. Most recently she became the Chair of the Arts in Public Places Committee for the City of Prescott. In her previous career, Cindy Gresser was an Arizona licensed General
Contractor. Her building specialty also was constructing homes “off the grid” utilizing solar technology in her company, High Country Homes and Cabins.
MANUEL LUCERO IV
Assistant Director of the Smoki Museum
Manuel has lived and worked in the Prescott area for 6 years. He is currently the Assistant Director of The Smoki Museum. Manuel was born in California and moved to Prescott to facilitate his wife’s education. He chose Prescott over “The Valley” because it reminded him of Bakersfield, and he felt a sense of community—one that was safe for his children. Manuel is a Southern Straight dancer, like his father, brother, and his sons. He is currently President of the Prescott Powwow Committee, and Vice President of the Granite Mountain Gourd Society.
Manuel believes in the Smoki Museum’s mission, and he believes it is never too late to make things right.
JULIE ELIZABETH RUCKER
Administrative Manager of the Smoki Museum
Julie has been active at The Smoki Museum since 2010, when she was studying for her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Archaeology at Prescott College. She began as a volunteer, and completed several museum internships related to her studies at Northern Arizona University (Geographic Information Systems) and at the University of Oklahoma (Museum Studies). During that time, she assisted Curator Andy Christenson with many projects at the museum, including preserving and documenting the Smoki People costumes, creating the Apache Culture Exhibit, creating
several exhibit maps, conducting classes on prehistoric jewelry materials and trade routes, and writing a successful grant proposal.
In 2016 she became the Volunteer Coordinator for the museum, and in 2017, shortly after earning her Master’s Degree in Museum Science, she became the Administrative Manager. She recruits, trains, and schedules volunteers, conducts meetings, is the editor of the quarterly Talking Sun Newsletter, composes the bi-monthly Constant Contact newsletter, assists with special events organization, and creates new volunteer programs. As her administrative responsibilities have expanded, Julie continues to promote a positive environment for and among all staff to ensure that the volunteers are confident and happy in their work, while focusing on the advancement of The Smoki Museum as a vibrant educational institution within the community.
Curator of the Smoki Museum
Andy Christenson was trained as an anthropological archaeologist at UCLA and received his Ph. D. in 1981. During graduate school, he worked for the Illinois State Museum and was curator of archaeology at the UCLA Museum of Culture History. In the 1980s, he conducted stone tool analysis for the Black Mesa Archaeological Project at Southern Illinois University and was a visiting scholar at the Arizona State Museum. Since 1987, he has been an archaeological consultant working primarily in central Arizona and in 2012 became curator of the Smoki Museum of
American Indian Art & Culture. He is advisor to the Yavapai Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society and was recipient of the 2013 Professional Archaeologist of the Year from the AAS. He is one of the few American members of EXARC, the international organization of archaeological open-air museums and experimental archaeology. His research interests are in the prehistory of central Arizona, artifact analysis (stone tools and pottery), and the history of archaeology.
As museum curator, he is responsible for the 3600+ cataloged objects and collections as well as any items on loan to the museum. In addition, he evaluates donations to the museum, organizes an accession committee to evaluate those items, accessions those items deemed to be worthy of permanent acquisition, maintains the computer database that contains the accession records, and finds suitable storage places for the new items. He has been closely involved in preparation of exhibits at the museum, including one on the Rainbow Bridge-Monument Valley Expedition, one on the relationships of amateur and professional archaeologists in central Arizona, developed with an associated book, An Essential Relationship: Amateurs and Professionals in Central Arizona Archaeology, and one on the connections of northwestern Mexico and the southwestern U.S.
Museum Operations Manager
Alexandra Rudolph began working as the Museum Operations Manager in July 2019 after being contracted with the museum as a museum and grants development consultant in 2017. Alex has a Master’s of Arts in Museum Studies from Arizona State University where she also received an Advanced Grant Development & Proposal Writing Certificate in 2018. Her previous work as a museum exhibition developer and researcher includes: four exhibitions with the Arizona State University’s Museum of Anthropology (*Choosing the Good*, *Choosing a Future with
Water: Lessons from the Hohokam*, *DiggingArizona* and *City Life: Experiencing the World of Teotihuacan*), andcontributions to the Center for American Archaeology Field School Museum’spermanent exhibit in Kampsville, IL, The Scottsdale Police Museum'spermanent exhibit and *Show Me the Money* for the I.D.E.A Museum in Mesa,AZ. Alex has worked as the project lead for the current Children'sExhibition at The Smoki Museum and has helped develop the museum's currentgrants program. Her background also includes experience in museumevaluation. Alex also serves on the Art in Public Places Committee for theCity of Prescott and is an active member of the Grants ProfessionalsAssociation (GPA).