The Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington has hired Laurie P. Lamarre as executive director.

She was selected following an eight-month nationwide search.

Lamarre comes from her current position as a project consultant at Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center.

Prior to consulting for the Mashantucket, she was education coordinator for the Lebanon Historical Society, director of education at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, and served in various capacities since 2007 at the USS Constitution Museum in Charlestown, Mass., in addition to writing and publishing.

Lamarre's schooling included undergraduate degrees in history and anthropology from the University of Connecticut, and a certificate and master's degree in Museum Studies and Museum Education from Tufts University.

"I am beyond thrilled to join such a dedicated team at the Institute for American Indian Studies Museum and Research Center," Lamarre said. "This organization has the entire package; unique collections, knowledgeable staff, exceptional exhibits and beautiful grounds. I am looking forward to meeting and engaging with the Institute's constituents, while helping to preserve Native American history and traditions, share knowledge, and engage with contemporary Native American cultures."

Bruce Reinholdt, an independent museum consultant, former curator of the Gunn Museum in Washington and a 43-year veteran of historical museum management and teaching, is an IAIS trustee and headed the search committee.

"The applicants for the position of executive director at the museum were all exceptional," said Reinholdt, who will continue as chairman of the transition committee. "Laurie was instantly attractive as our leader because of the depth of her knowledge in the field and her local background. Laurie's understanding of Native American prehistory, history, and archeology is vast, and rooted in well-researched academics."

Recently, the museum received recognition on a national scale, as it qualified at the "gold" level, the highest, in three of six museum operations areas: collections, audience and interpretation, in the StEPS-CT program.

StEPS, a standards of excellence program for small museums and historical organizations, was developed by the American Association for State and Local History and sponsored in state by the Connecticut Humanities and Connecticut League for History Organizations.

The IAIS will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2015.

For more information, visit www.iaismuseum.org or call 860-868-0518.