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2020 Rising Star Award for public engagement at Everly Brothers home

Sept. 8, 2020 - With my Rising Star Award

I'm so honored to have been selected for the Iowa Museum Association's 2020 Rising Star Award for "outstanding engagement of community audiences" on behalf of the Everly Brothers Childhood Home! My twin sister Sherry Davis, who is just as deserving of this acknowledgement if not more so, initiated the nomination process and approached our friends and colleagues for their contributions to the application. Thank you all for your belief in me and our work together in Shenandoah, and for your individual efforts (and kind words!) in making this very special recognition possible! In a difficult year, this career accomplishment has been a much-needed source of positive encouragement.

From the Iowa Museum Association's press release by executive director Cynthia Sweet:

Recognizing the importance of community support, tourism, education, exhibits and collections working together for a successful museum or heritage experience, Sheryl Davis has taken a holistic approach to her work with the Everly Brothers Childhood Home in Shenandoah, Iowa.

In nominating Sheryl Davis for the Iowa Museum Association Rising Star Award, Shelly Warner, Marketing Director and Event Planner for the Shenandoah Chamber & Industry Association said, "Sheryl Davis brings professional expertise to the Everly Brothers Childhood Home. Without her input and contributions, I believe the Home would have continued to flounder with little direction. With her help, we have established a mission statement, joined the state museum association, have been far more successful with fundraising and events, and have established an annual Everly Brother Heritage Day Celebration."

Warner noted Sheryl's work with local historic preservation planning and tourism development, research and documentation, and visitor experience programming among other things. She described Sheryl's important role in helping the Everly Brothers Childhood Home broaden its audience through engagement activities including concerts and events that have brought many fans to the site.

This star atop my Christmas tree is a source of positive encouragement at the end of a difficult year.

Sheryl’s work for the Home over a short period of time has been prolific. Sheryl developed local, national and international partnerships and support for the site, as well as exhibits and programming. As a benefit for the Everly Brothers Childhood Home and community celebration, Sheryl brought a concert to the Shenandoah Armory for the first time in 50 years, reopening the original ticket booth and dressing the room and stage in 1940s/50s inspired decorations. In order to provide digital experiences and resources to world-wide supporters, she partnered with University of Iowa faculty to complete a 3D laser-scan of the Everly Brothers Childhood Home. To add to the collection and gather research material for later programming, she organized a 60th anniversary celebration gathering of the Shenandoah High School Class of 1957, carefully documenting their memories of classmate Don Everly, and the Everly family in Shenandoah. With this material, Sheryl created the first short documentary film made on the Everly Brothers in Shenandoah and produced content focusing on Don and Phil Everly's early life in Shenandoah, Iowa for From Bakersfield to Beale Street: A Regional History of American Rock ‘n’ Roll from Rockabilly to MTV (4th Edition) by David Stuart, Ryan Sheeler and Scott Anderson (2019).

Sheryl organized traveling exhibits and programming such as "Phil & Don Home Again!" a special presentation and exhibit on the Everly Brothers' formative years in Shenandoah, Iowa, featuring guest speaker Bill Hillman, founder of the Everly Brothers Childhood Home Foundation.

Said Hillman: “Sheryl's hard work in organizing and in tourism development to assist the Everly Home was essential for the organization to move forward and become an important historical site. Her vision and development of ideas including social media, marketing, advertising, fundraising, and setting up special events was critical to progressing forward. I can think of no one who could better represent the IMA Rising Star Award."

July 5, 1986: Bill Hillman (center) presents Phil (left) and Don Everly with namesake street signs.

Cynthia Sweet, Director of the Iowa Museum Association said, “The Rising Star Award recognizes individuals who have worked or volunteered in the Iowa museum field for 3-5 years and have helped their museum broaden its audience through engagement activities. Sheryl Davis is an outstanding example, bringing energy, ideas, and new approaches to engaging local, national, and international audiences with the Everly Brothers Childhood Home in Shenandoah, Iowa. Sheryl Davis is a Rising Star in the Iowa museum industry."


Season's greetings from the Everly Brothers Childhood Home! I hope you enjoy these 2020 holiday photos from Shenandoah, Iowa taken by Shelly Warner.

During a typical holiday season, local children visit Santa at the Everly Brothers childhood home. Photo: Shelly Warner.
This year, letters to Santa were collected (and answered!) from a special mailbox outside the home. Photo: S. Warner.

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