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Kates Steps Down As African American Museum of Iowa Director

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — African American Museum of Iowa Executive Director Michael Kates has resigned, effective immediately.

In his place, Thomas Moore is serving as interim executive director of the Cedar Rapids museum. Moore previously served as executive director from 2003 to 2013 before retiring.

Kates started as museum director in May 2013. He is moving to Kansas City to join his wife, who already has moved there for a job, Moore said.

“We appreciate Michael’s passion for preserving African American heritage and wish him well as he seeks opportunities in the Kansas City area,” said Rudy Simms, chairman of the museum’s board of directors.

Moore said the board was still determining a timeline for hiring a new executive director.

“The board needs some breathing space to review our situation,” he said.

Before coming to the the African American Musuem of Iowa, Kates served as executive director of the Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center in Des Moines. A Waterloo native and former Marine, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history, with an emphasis in public history, at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.