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Executive Director Tolley Graves to Retire from The American Saddlebred Museum

LEXINGTON, KY (August 7, 2015) – The American Saddlebred Museum announced today that its longtime Executive Director, Tolley Graves, will retire at the end of this year after more than sixteen years of service. Throughout her tenure, Graves led the Museum through multiple campaigns resulting in several exhibit additions and updates, an extensive building expansion and significant endowment growth. Key events such as the Art Auction and hugely popular Kentucky State Fair Wednesday Evening Museum party were initiated under Graves’ leadership. The Board has established a committee to oversee a search for the Museum’s next Executive Director.

“Tolley’s accomplishments have not only grown the Museum and its collections but also secured its future,” said Amy Rock, President of the Board of Trustees. “Her legacy is more than just a list of professional achievements. Tolley is a joy to work with and her dedication to the Museum has truly been a labor of love. The entire Board will miss her tremendously, and we wish her all the best in her much deserved – and hopefully restful – retirement.”

“An administrator, a leader of volunteers, a dealer with architects, contractors, museum designers, financial affairs, fundraiser, and visionary for change…Tolley is the entire package with extraordinary skills and a work ethic to match. How lucky we are to have had her at the helm of our wonderful Museum. She has surely earned my admiration many times over,” praised Keith Bartz, member of the Museum Investment Committee and former Museum Executive Director.

Graves was instrumental in establishing the annual campaign program which has grossed over $1.1 million to date to operate the Museum. Tolley has been a tireless champion for the Museum, instituting the Walk of Honor, Sculpture Garden, and the Lifetime Achievement Exhibit, among her many other achievements
“I have enjoyed the last sixteen years here at the Museum more than I ever anticipated I would, and am grateful for the opportunity given me” said Graves. “The wonderful staff and trustees I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with are a major reason for any accomplishments that have been made. I want to thank each one of them, the many generous donors who have answered our call as well as those who came before and paved the way with their hard work and dedication. We all want this Museum to be a point of pride for everyone in the Saddlebred industry. I will leave confident that those who follow will move the organization to the next level and make it an even more dynamic showplace.”

About the Museum

The American Saddlebred Museum, Gallery, and Gift Shop is the ultimate "Showplace for Saddlebreds." Located on the grounds of the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, the Museum provides an exciting and educational experience. Inside, visitors learn the important role the American Saddlebred played in our nation's history, and how he has evolved into the elegant, athletic, and versatile breed we know today. The Museum features special exhibitions that change annually along with a wide variety of permanent exhibits such as a children's area, award-winning videos, and a priceless collection of Saddlebred-related artwork. The Museum boasts the largest collection of Saddlebred artifacts in the world. While the Museum serves as a resource to the Saddlebred industry, it also educates tens of thousands of visitors annually about the beauty, versatility, and history of the American Saddlebred horse.

For more information or for individuals interested in obtaining information about the Executive Director position, please contact Amy Rock at

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