Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, has named Dr. Wendy Richter, a previous state archivist, to succeed Lisa Speer as state historian and director of the state archives. Speer resigned because of a poor relationship with Hurst, whose leadership has since been criticized for this and other reasons.

The release from DAH:


Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage (DAH), today named Dr. Wendy Richter as state historian and director of the Arkansas State Archives (ASA), a division of DAH. Richter previously served as director of the Archives, when it was known as the Arkansas History Commission, from 2005-2012. She has over 35 years of experience in archival records and research, specifically in Arkansas history. She will begin work on May 14 at a salary of $87,095.

“The work of the Arkansas State Archives is very important, and I look forward to Dr. Richter’s leadership of the organization and its mission of maintaining the historical records of our state,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “Her understanding of and scholarship in Arkansas history are an extraordinary gift to our state.”

Richter holds a master’s degree in public history from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, a master’s degree in heritage studies from Arkansas State University (ASU) and a doctorate in heritage studies from ASU. Since 2013, she has been an archivist and professor at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia. The work of Dr. Richter and her staff recently earned national honors with the Baptist History and Heritage Society’s 2017 Davis C. Wooley Award for Outstanding Achievement in Assessing and Preserving Baptist History. Dr. Richter is an expert in the history of the upper Ouachita River Valley, and Clark, Hot Spring and Garland Counties. She has authored, compiled and edited many publications on these subjects.

Arkansas History Commission Chair Jason Hendren said, “Dr. Richter is eminently qualified to serve as state historian, and I look forward to welcoming her home.”

The other divisions of DAH are the Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Old State House Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.