Historical Society Elects New Trustees

Society prepares to usher in 50th anniversary; Ted Kaplan and Stephen King come on-board as trustees.

The enjoyed a record turn-out for its 49th annual meeting Sunday, with a standing room only crowd of more than 50 people.

“The major reason for such a great run has been the financial support of our membership and the dedication of our volunteers. You are the ones who have made it all possible,” President Lois O’Hara said,  applauding the newsletter edited by Donna DeBenedictis, and the efforts of Candace Hamilton, Teresa Reid,  Darcy Little, Rhoda Wright and Gretchen Haynes in mounting three memorable exhibits, “If Our Houses Could Talk,” “Low Tech …And That’s’ the Way It Was,” and “Recording Memories: A Historic Overview.”

Plans are underway to celebrate the Society’s 50th anniversary in 2012, O’Hara said.

“Arlene Handel is chairing the celebration committee and would welcome your help,” O’Hara said.

Although fundraising continues to be a challenge, O’Hara spoke of the Society’s many recent accomplishments, including the passage of historic preservation legislation, the computerization of home surveys, and the renovation of the museum shop.

Vice President Alan Pearlman asked those present to do their parts “by serving as ambassadors for the museum.”

“Encourage other people to become part of the museum’s ‘family’ by becoming members,” Pearlman said.

O’Hara introduced those up for the position of trustee. Candace Hamilton, Carole Kehoe and Sally Lauve were re-nominated for three year terms. Theodore  Kaplan and Steven King were nominated for three year terms. The entire slate was elected.

O’Hara also introduced Heather Johnson, the museum’s new director, who was chosen from among a plethora of worthy candidates after Rosemary Feeney retired.

“Fortunately the stars were aligned right, and we were able to hire Heather who is filled with enthusiasm and great ideas,” O’Hara said.

Johnson, a Smithtown resident, has always nurtured a love of Northport. She reviewed some of the outstanding events that have taken place since she assumed her position in January, which including Dick Simpson’s talk on the role of Northport in the Civil War which attracted a standing room only crowd.

The museum’s first spring break program undertaken by Kari-Ann Carr, Educator and Assistant to the Director, “History Takes a Vacation,” was a success and there are plans to repeat it in August, Johnson indicated.

Johnson expressed her enthusiasm for the current exhibit, “Growing Up Northport: Reflections of Childhood from the 1870s to the 1970s,” which opened on Sunday.

“To complement the exhibit, we will be having a lecture on baseball card collecting in July, and an old-fashioned family game night in September,” Johnson said, adding that the annual garden tour, “Northport Blooms In June,” set for June 12, “promises to be particularly lovely because we have more gardens than ever before.”

 “We will continue to offer entertaining and educational events, and to be an important part of the community,” Johnson said of her vision for the museum, which was frequented by almost 4,000 visitors in 2010.


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