Ridgefield Historical Society president details year of progress

Ridgefield Historical Society president Sharon Dunphy recounted a year of progress for the organization at its annual meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

Guided by its new strategic plan, the Historical Society has increased its memberships, partnerships, volunteers, and donors, Ms. Dunphy said. Social media as well as press releases and its website have increased the reach of the Society, and lectures, walking tours, open houses at the Peter Parley Schoolhouse, the December Silhouettes program by Deb O’Connor, and field trips all brought in new members and friends.

During the past year, the Historical Society has had joint programs with the Ridgefield Library and Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center as well as with the Cannondale Grange and has contributed content to the Ridgefield Arts Council’s Otocast app. The Ridgefield Historical Society was also selected to develop a pilot program for the Connecticut Humanities ConnTours application.

Board member Phil Esser recently presented a program on notable architecture in Ridgefield and how to protect it, as part of the Historical Society’s initiatives in historic preservation, Ms. Dunphy told members.

The Warren Arthur Architectural Collection at the Ridgefield Historical Society will house plans of significant Ridgefield structures in special storage units in the Scott House vault. Also included in its preservation efforts, Ms. Dunphy said, are closer ties with the Ridgefield Historic District Commission and a more active engagement with town land use boards.

A number of significant grants for programming and capital improvements were received in the past year, most recently a $30,000 award from the Anne S. Richardson Fund.

Concluding her report, Ms. Dunphy noted the growth in membership, programming, and outreach and said the Ridgefield Historical Society was “more capable than ever to meet the community’s needs and preserve Ridgefield’s historical, cultural, and architectural heritage.”

Continuing as officers are Ms. Dunphy, Sara Champion, first vice president; Geoff Harrington, second vice president; Georgianne Kasuli, co-treasurer; Nancy Selander, co-treasurer; Michele Mahland, recording secretary; and Betsy Reid, secretary.

The board honored longtime member and Peter Parley Schoolhouse director Donna Warren, who is retiring. Elected to two-year terms were: Kay Ables, Monica McMorran, Sue Law, Gary Singer, Phil Esser, Tracy Seem, Sally Sanders, and honorary member David Scott. The board also thanked Grace Clewell and Bunny Lancaster, who retired earlier in the year from board positions.

For more information about the Ridgefield Historical Society, visit ridgefieldhistoricalsociety.org, or stop by the Scott House Tuesday through Thursday from 1 to 5 pm.