Alison Bruesehoff

Executive Director

Alison Bruesehoff brings over 19 years of museum experience to her position as Executive Director of the Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site. Her last directorship was at the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum where as Executive Director she oversaw all operations. She obtained her MS in Museum Studies from George Washington University in Washington, DC, and began her employment with museums at the Smithsonian Institute. She also received an MBA with an emphasis in organizational leadership from Woodbury University in Southern California. In addition, during college, she studied at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford where their museums and collections are world renowned. Alison is thrilled to be at the Rancho Los Cerritos and looks forward to getting involved with the community.

For general information about the site, contact Alison.

Meighan Maguire

Education Director

Before joining the Rancho staff in 2003, Meighan Maguire received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and a doctorate's degree in communication from the University of California, San Diego. Meighan manages the education programs, a job that includes teaching Rancho history and overseeing the award-winning school tour program. She also develops and implements engaging programs for youth and teens. Meighan’s goal for the Rancho education programs is that they will help guests “extract meaning from historical fact”, and thus enrich our community’s knowledge of its heritage.

For information about the education programs, contact Meighan.

Sarah Wolk FitzGerald

Historical Curator

Sarah Wolk FitzGerald received her B.A. in history at University of California, San Diego, her M.A. in history at California State University, San Marcos, and is a current Ph.D. candidate from University of California, Riverside. She specialized in public history and local history as a graduate student, and completed internships at the Dora Nelson African American Art and History Museum in Perris, California and the Smiley Library’s Heritage Room Archives in Redlands, California. She is excited to work with the Rancho’s vibrant history and collections.

For information about the collections, archives, and California History Research Library, contact Sarah Wolk FitzGerald.

Laura Willbanks

Volunteer Coordinator/First-Person Interpreter

Laura first joined Rancho Los Cerritos in 2010, as a volunteer for Adobe Days Revisited, a program that reaches 6,000 fourth-grade students each year. In 2013, she joined staff to provide living history tours of the historic ranch house and gardens. In 2016, she took on the responsibility for coordinating the volunteers who make all our public programs possible. She also manages the reproduction costume collection, assists volunteers in costuming for our living history programs, and provides volunteer opportunities for those interested in fashion history or creating costumes for the wardrobe. Laura loves to bring history to life for visitors by interpreting the museum through characters from the past, and enabling docents to bring personalities from the Rancho's past to life.

Marie Barnidge-McIntyre


Marie Barnidge-McIntyre, a certified horticulturist, has maintained the living collections at the Rancho since 1992. Her main responsibility is maintaining and preserving the historic grounds. In addition, she supervises the maintenance contractors, garden volunteers, garden craft committee, and garden docent program. One of Marie’s main projects has been increasing the Rancho’s sustainability (through integrated pest and resource management programs) while simultaneously preserving and re-introducing historical plant material. Furthermore, her work been published in regional publications and trade journals. She is also featured in Pioneers of American Landscape Design, a collection of biographies of visionary professionals assembled as part of the Heritage Preservation service program of the National Park Service.

For information about the gardens, contact Marie.

Jennifer Rice Epstein

Public Relations & Marketing Specialist

Jennifer Rice Epstein brings more than a decade of experience in communications and social media management to the Rancho. She holds a BA in English from UCLA and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, where she won the Foundation Award for Fiction. Before coming to Rancho Los Cerritos, she was an editor at Gazette Newspapers. Jennifer lives in the Los Cerritos neighborhood with her husband, two children, cat, and puppy. She spends much of her free time reading, gardening, and cooking.

Jan Shafer

Visitor and Volunteer Services

Jan Shafer has worked at the Rancho since 2001. Her position at the site involves the recruitment of volunteers and the implementation of volunteer programs, as well as the organization of many of the Rancho’s special events. The most rewarding aspect of Jan’s work at the Rancho is that it gives her the opportunity to provide the public with a hands-on approach to historical education. Jan received a bachelor's degree in sociology from California State University, Long Beach.

For information about volunteering, contact Jan.

Rita Toomer

Grant Writer

Rita Toomer is a longtime grant writer.  Before she came to Rancho Los Cerritos, she worked at the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum. She has more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit industry.

Nora Cristobal

Development Associate

Nora is our Development Associate who assists with private events, development fundraisers, and more! Her last role was with Microsoft where she hosted and facilitated community events. Nora also has experience working with non-profits, as she volunteers with an organization that offers free services to senior citizens. She is a creative writing major from Cal State Long Beach, and currently lives in the Belmont Heights area with her boyfriend and their Kelpie/Whippet mix, Kona.

Alana Reese

Public Programs Assistant

Alana’s history at the Rancho began when she was a small child and her parents started volunteering here. Soon she too was volunteering, playing several different living history roles in the Christmas candlelight tours. In November of 2015, she began working at the Rancho. As part of her role here, she puts on events and programs for children, like the monthly Creation Station and summer day camps, as well as recruiting and training teens to volunteer at the Rancho. She also has the opportunity to assist with educational programming, such as the specialized tours offered to school aged children. Before coming to work at the Rancho, Alana studied Environmental Sciences and Celtic Studies at UC Berkeley, and had several internships working with students at different schools. Her favorite part of her job is getting to interact with teens and children, and seeing them get excited to learn about the Rancho and its history.