Dena Adams was Project Coordinator of the Diary Project from August of 2007 until funding for her position ended at the end of April of 2011. Her largest contribution to the Project was her work in preparing, fine-tuning, and entering the transcription into their Web format. She tracked and recreated the marginalia that appears in the Diary. She was also responsible for logging and archiving the submitted researcher reports.
Her fondest memories of the Diary Project were working with Hugh Talman to scan materials from Henry Z. Steinway's personal archive at Steinway Hall and working with Anna Karvellas to help create the exhibition "A Gateway to the 19th Century: The William Steinway Diary, 1861–1896".
Throughout Adams' life her interest in music and history were closely tied to her academic pursuits. When the opportunity to work with The William Steinway Diary Project presented itself she jumped at the opportunity.
Adams began her career at the Smithsonian as an intern working with the collections in the Division of Music, Sports, and Entertainment which is now known as the Division of Culture and the Arts. She focused on object handling and assisted with a large scale move of the collection to temporary storage and assisted with the installation of the Treasures of American History exhibition. While an intern, the Division acquired the collection of the burlesque performer Shirley May Jones who performed under the name Shirley May Leonard. This collection had a large archival component that was housed in the Archives Center. At this time Adams was a student of John Fleckner in his class Collections Management: Archival Practices. He allowed her to use this collection for her class project. This was her first hands on archival experience. While working with the material culture housed in the Division, Adams scoured the archival material looking for clues to help augment the research.
Another project of note that helped develop her skills utilized as Project Coordinator was her genealogical work on the "Boy in the Iron Coffin" Project. While serving as an intern in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History Department of Anthropology she worked as part of a team to help determine the identity of William Taylor White who died in 1852. By tracking down the genealogical material on several boys who fit the criteria ascertained during the autopsy a living descendant was located that provided a DNA sample that matched White’s.
She received her BA in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic in 2001. Her Senior Project titled, "Digital Meltdown" provided her with her first experience with creating Web sites and the art of transcription. She conducted approximately 20 oral histories with people who had lived in her hometown of Harrisburg, PA during the Three Mile Island nuclear accident including several plant employees. This information was presented on a Web site of her own design. She received her MA in Museum Studies from The George Washington University in 2007. Her academic focus was on collections management and American Studies.