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East Haddam Historical Society
& Museum
  
AUTUMN 2021

 
“Chestnuts roasting outside
As you walk with your love by your side
And the old accordion plays mellow and bright
And you go home in the crispness of the night”
(from Autumn Song by Van Morrison)
 
Well...summer sure went by in a hurry!!
 
Here we are…November 1st and everyone is in full autumn mode--apple picking, cider drinking, and putting out the corn stalks, mums, and other fall decor. I hope that everyone is healthy and well and that you are enjoying this gorgeous autumn weather as we approach peak foliage in the lower Connecticut River Valley.
 
The Trustees have been busy during the summer and early fall with monthly meetings and making plans for our various initiatives. Here’s the update on what we’ve been doing:

Museum Re-Design

The Building/Project Committee met with our architect and our two consultants to discuss the project overview and our timeline for completion of the action steps that are detailed in the grant (CTHumanities Capacity Grant). George Fellner (architect) is working on creating the “as-built” drawings of the Museum, Kathy Craughwell-Varda (exhibits consultant) is working on developing themes for the audience survey, and Karina Wizevich (audience consultant) is working to create an online survey to be emailed to members in November, available for all townspeople online, and a paper survey for Museum visitors to complete. The data from these survey results will help us to identify the themes/stories/ people/events that will comprise the Museum’s new permanent exhibits. Fellner Architects will then design the space that will house the new permanent galleries.
 
We will be pursuing grant opportunities that will support both the Re-Design Project as well as help with operational costs. The Trustees recently approved the hiring of a grant-writing consultant to help us find and apply for appropriate grants.
 
The Collections Committee (Marianne Halpin & Joanne Maynard, with assistance from several dedicated volunteers) has been hard at work to catalog all the items in the Museum collection. Specifically, they are entering the existing hard-copy catalog into an electronic database; and they are going through boxes and boxes of archival material that was never cataloged to enter all those items into the database, too. As you can imagine, this is a slow process; however, it’s also an exciting project of discovery as they unearth treasures from East Haddam’s past that have remained hidden for years.

Please contact Marianne or Joanne if you’d like to lend a hand (mmhalpin@comcast.net, kmaynard@yahoo.com, or call the Museum @ 860.873.3944). Many hands make light work...and it’s a great opportunity to learn about East Haddam history.

Building and Grounds

The parking lot entrance on Town Street has been re-graded and new material has been added to eradicate the “ponding” problem. Thanks to Curtin Construction for such a great job!
 
The building has been power washed, and the front porch and ramp have received a new coat of paint.
 
A special Thank-You to LeNoir Roberge who maintains our flower beds and keeps the shrubs trimmed. LeNoir is one of our many volunteers who work “behind the scenes” to keep the Museum running.

Documentaries

“Zero Boys” the documentary that profiles the story of the 1958 undefeated and unscored- upon H-R boys soccer team has been completed and will be shown to everyone who was involved in the making of the documentary at a private event in November. A town-wide public event will be held post-Covid (hopefully Spring 2022). This project was a terrific collaboration between the EHHS and H-R Alumni Association. Special gratitude goes to Jim Francese (EHHS) and Roy Parker (Alumni Association) for leading this project. Thank you to all EHHS members who made donations to support the project.
 
“The Elder Project” is a collaboration between the EHHS and Ken Simon to conduct a series of video interviews with longtime East Haddam residents to capture their memories of growing up in town during the early days. Please contact me (bsievers53@gmail.com) if you would like to volunteer to be interviewed or to refer someone to be interviewed.

Exhibits and Programs

Marianne (Museum Director) reported that about 120 people attended the series of Wildlife and Natural History programs that were held on consecutive Tuesday afternoons this summer. Thank you, Marianne, for conceiving and planning this program, and thank you to the volunteers who assisted in hanging the exhibits in the Old Meeting Room.
 
Celebrate East Haddam was a huge town success and many people visited us at the EHHS table. We gave away prizes, answered questions, sold books and jigsaw puzzles, and we even received a few new memberships!!

Membership

And speaking of new memberships...we are nearing our target goal of a ten percent growth in new memberships by the end of this year. PLEASE!!! Renew your current membership and give the gift of a membership to family and friends. Membership in the EHHS will make a great Holiday Gift. The membership form can be completed and submitted online using PayPal on the Museum website or you can print the membership form from the website and mail it to us with a check. An “Individual” membership is only $20, and a “Household” membership is only $35 a year.
 
Also, please visit our Museum Gift Shop online for easy holiday shopping.

Volunteer Opportunities

Please consider donating some time to support your Historical Society. Whatever amount of time you can give will be very helpful and very much appreciated. Remember, this is a membership organization and, as such, is only as vital as the level of member activity. The Trustees do a lot of work, but they need your help! Please do the following:
 
  • Renew your annual membership
  • Give the gift of a new membership
  • Make a monetary donation (online or by check)
  • Volunteer to help the Collections Committee
  • Be a Docent (email Marianne to volunteer)
  • Support the Museum Re-Design Project by completing and submitting the survey, by volunteering for a committee, by making a financial contribution
  • Join the Board of Trustees (full member or alternate). Contact Brian Evarts if interested (cell) 860.966.6756 or (email)  brian.evarts@gmail.com

Final Notes

2022 Operating Budget:
 
The Board voted at the October meeting to accept the budget as proposed by the Budget Committee. I want to assure the membership that the Society’s finances are strong and that the Trustees continue to operate according to a balanced operating budget.
 
“History of Historical Society” documentary to preview at Annual Meeting on November 17:
 
East Haddam’s Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and historian Ken Simon will present his recently completed documentary profile on the history of the East Haddam Historical Society. As the Society approaches its 60th birthday, we look back at our founding and our growth, and we honor those who have made this Society such an important part of the town’s culture. I’ll share with you the accomplishments of the past two years, and the Trustees’ vision for our future growth. Our Annual Business meeting will follow which will include the voting-in of the Executive Committee for 2022 and the slate of Trustees.
 
Refreshments will be served. A reminder that all attendees are required to wear face masks.
 
Annual Holiday Program:
 
The Trustees are discussing plans for our annual holiday program in December. A notice will be sent to the membership as soon as plans are finalized.
 
Take care, be well, and enjoy the Autumn
 
I’ll see you at The Museum.
 
Bruce Sievers
President

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