Board of Directors
ALHFAM’s Board of Directors is responsible for managing the organization and for setting its policies and future direction. It includes the president, vice-president, secretary/treasurer and immediate past president, each of whom serve for two years, and nine board members. These nine board members are elected in groups of three new board members each year, each of whom serve one three-year term.
Regular board meetings are held twice a year: at the annual meeting and again in the late fall at a board member’s site. Board minutes are posted on ALHFAM.org and published in the Bulletin after they are approved by the board.
Thomas Kelleher (Term Expires 2017)
Tom attended his first ALHFAM conference in 1988, and has been hooked ever since by our unique and remarkably inclusive band of kindred spirits. He helped organize several regional and annual conferences, served two terms on the board, been a regional representative, worked on diverse ALHFAM committees over the years, and presents regularly on a variety of topics and techniques.
“Story” is a big part of the word “History,” and stories are a big part of the discipline as well. Here is a brief story from Tom’s own history. After a brief stint teaching high school history in his native Norwalk, Connecticut, Tom attended graduate school at the University of Connecticut. He then applied for a research historian position at Old Sturbridge Village, but was turned down. As he was about to hang up, the personnel officer asked if he would be interested in being an interpreter instead. Tom replied, “I don’t think so; my Spanish is not that good.” When the position of history interpreter was explained to him, he trepidatiously decided that it might be fun for a few months.
Thirty years later, Tom is still practicing living history and wearing many hats, both literally and figuratively, from costumed interpreter and craftsman to curator, historian, and author. Tom also regularly speaks, trains staff, presents historical characters, demonstrates and teaches historic trades at museums, parks, and historical societies across the United States. His most memorable adventure was spending a month in Romania as part of a curator exchange program sponsored by the International Partnership Among Museums. Tom is also a Registered Nurse, just in case this history thing doesn’t work out... :-)
The President is the chair of the Committee on Organizational Partnerships (COOP)
Deb Arenz (Term Expires 2017)
Deb recently served as the Associate Director for Collections at the Nebraska State Historical Society. During her 20 year museum career she has also served as curator of the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer and director/curator at the Elkhorn Valley Museum, both in Nebraska, as president of the Nebraska Museums Association, purchasing co-op chair for the Mountain Plains Museum Association, and as a board and nominating committee member for ALHFAM. A transplant from Connecticut, Deb now happily lives in the Great Plains with her husband and two kids and enjoys cooking, knitting, reading, hiking (not so easy in Nebraska but we try), biking, travel, eating items from other people’s gardens, and playing the banjo poorly.
The Vice-President is the chair of the Committee on Regional Networking (CORN)
Edward Baker (Term Ends June 2018)
Edward's involvement with ALHFAM began over thirty years ago when he was working as the farmer for Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Knowing that ALHFAM was more than just farming, he continued his involvement when he became a supervisor of historic interpretation at Mystic Seaport, in Mystic, Connecticut, in 1988. While working there, Edward served as an ALHFAM board member, as the conference coordinator for the 2000 Annual Meeting, and with the support of the Mystic Seaport Museum IT staff, he was able to create ALHFAM’s first website and the ALHFAM-List electronic forum. From 2004 to 2015, he worked as the Executive Director of the New London County Historical Society, in New London, Connecticut. Now retired, and with new administrative skills learned on the job, Edward is happy to use those skills to help ALHFAM thrive.
Nowadays, Edward is finishing the house that he built fifteen years ago near the coast in Rhode Island. Gardening and woodlot “management,” baking bread, and being a house-husband occupy most of his time. The house-husband part is much appreciated by his wife Carol, and he is also loved by two daughters, still kind-of at home, and a son, his wife and their two boys in Oregon.
Debra A. Reid, Ph.D, (Term Expires June 2017)Deb joined ALHFAM thirty years ago and considers it the best decision she ever made. She first attended a conference in 1981 at Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky; she loved reading through the folksy and newsy Bulletin, and dreamed of the day when she could contribute to the organization. She first spoke at the 1987 ALHFAM conference and first helped edit a Proceedings for the 1988 conference. She produced two editions of the Guidebook to ALHFAM Institutional Members in 1990 and 2000. She served on the ALHFAM board from 1996 to 1999, and received the John T. Schlebecker Award in 2000. She serves as treasurer of the Midwest Open Air Museums Coordinating Council (ALHFAM’s Midwest region) and as the First Vice President of the International Association of Agricultural Museums (AIMA). This service combined with her career trajectory [she has lived and worked in four ALHFAM regions (from Maine to Texas and in Denmark] gives her a good grasp of living history’s past, its current state and its potential for growth. Since 1999 she has taught at Eastern Illinois University, including courses in collections care and material culture analysis for the graduate program in Historical Administration. For fun she plays vintage base ball with the St. Louis Brown Stockings and the Rock Springs Ground Squirrels; and undertakes projects as wide ranging as replicating sleeve puffs for a workshop at the Arkansas Living History Association and researching early twentieth century canning practices. She has learned from every experience that the public is passionate about the past, that the past can be hotly debated and that visitors value the history lessons that museums deliver.
Kathy is the Director of Museums and Historic Sites with the Oklahoma Historical Society. She stumbled into the museum field in 1979 with a summer job at the Oklahoma Historical Society and progressed to office manager, curator, registrar, educator, and administrator. In her current position, Kathy manages 28 museums and historic sites across the state along with a graphics department and exhibits department. Kathy holds a BA in History and English and a MA in History, and has previously served as president of the Oklahoma Museums Association and the Mountain-Plains Museums Association.
Kathy lives near Oklahoma City with Clint, her husband of thirty-six years. They have two grown children and three grandchildren. She can usually be found with a knitting project in tow, and she has a long list of hobbies that keep her busy--knitting, spinning, natural dyeing, quilting, sewing, woodworking, gardening, cooking, reading, and most importantly playing with the grandkids.
Kevin is the site manager at Historic Brattonsville in McConnells, SC. and has also worked at The Home Place 1850, Iowa Living History Farms, Garfield Farm and Inn Museum, Old Cowtown Museum and Charles Towne Landing. I’ve worked at seven museums and it is remarkable that I have yet to get fired or downsized. He is 43 years old, married with two little girls, 3 and 5 years old. As a result I know more about Disney princess and fairies than I care to admit. I collect and shoot old film cameras. My first paying job was as a stocker at a beer store from 4 to midnight. Oh the people I met. My strangest job was collecting live ticks. I itch just thinking about it. Once I got a minor case of food poisoning from eating a yak cheese Danish in Katmandu.
Del is from Ontario, Canada and a member of the Ojibway First Nations. His main interests include Art History, 17th century woodworking, traditional First Nations crafts, ALHFAM and of course cryptozoology. Del works at Ste. Marie among the Hurons in the Southern Georgian Bay area, and has been in the history business for 29 years and sees no end in site.
Educated as an art historian, Sarah was formally introduced to living history when she became a volunteer for the Monmouth County Park System (NJ) at Longstreet Farm in 1983. She worked her way through contract and part time employment there while raising two sons. Sarah was offered full time employment in 1996 to create and present public programs for Historic Walnford. She is now the Site Supervisor and continues to develop and implement the interpretative programs as well as oversee the maintenance of the buildings and grounds, including the operation of the late 19th c. gristmill. All can feel right with the world when Sarah is milling cornmeal. She attended a Mid-Atlantic Regional ALHFAM conference in 1996 and won a raffle to attend the annual conference that year. She was hooked, and has attended annual and regional conferences as often as possible; always learning, enjoying the company of people who understand the joys and frustrations of this work, and presenting when time and inspiration come together. Sarah serves on the New Jersey Living History Advisory Council, and is passionate about striving for historical accuracy, multi-sensory learning, and professional development.
Back in the late 1990’s, Matt started down two different paths. In 1998 he began his career at AT&T as a technician and eventually wound up as a Website Developer responsible for managing several internal systems. Around the same time, Matt also began working at the Howell Farm Corn Maze. Over time he began getting more involved at the farm and now works on several modern aspects, behind the scenes of a historic site. While he still spends a lot of time volunteering at the corn maze, he also has been working to bring Wi-Fi and some other newer technology to the visitor’s center and some of the other properties around the farm. Matt became familiar with ALHFAM in 2003 when Howell Farm (and several other sites in New Jersey) hosted the annual meeting, and looks forward to lending his technical abilities to the organization as we update the website and expand the organization’s digital footprint.
Alisa chose a career in the history field at the early age of 13, and starting working in it by 15 at a nearby historical village. By 17 she discovered a passion for mills and milling, and apprenticed herself to the Miller to learn the trade. She attended her first ALHFAM in 1992 at Old Salem. She holds a BA in history from Kalamazoo College, and a MA from the Cooperstown Graduate Program in History Museum Studies. She has served on EdCom for AAM in the Midwest region. Although raised in Michigan, she has worked, studied or interned in a variety of states including Virginia, Massachusetts, Kentucky, New York and Hawai'i. She trained in The Netherlands on windmills, and in 2007 became the first overseas student to become a Dutch certified Miller. In 2009 she was admitted to the professional & traditional grainmillers guild of The Netherlands. She currently operates the De Zwaan windmill in Holland, Michigan, and is now the author of a book titled De Zwaan, The True Story of America's Dutch Windmill. She enjoys being a part of ALHFAM, TIMS (the International Molinological Society), restoring her 1867 house, traveling, studying languages, reading, spinning, and baking on her wood burning cookstove. She stays busy balancing life as both Miller and mother to Charlie (14) and Alistair (3).
Karen is currently the Master of the Weaving Shop at Colonial Williamsburg. From Karen: Who ever thought in a million years, I would wind up working in a museum? When someone asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up”? I don’t think museum work was on my radar. My mother was the town historian and I learned to sift sand/dirt to do headstone rubbings in old abandoned cemeteries and went with her as she recorded oral histories from the oldest members of our small farming community in western NY State. I didn’t realize the importance of what we did together would lead me down a road of antiquated technology. So, with a BA in Sociology, (and what the heck do you do with that?!) I headed to Williamsburg for a summer job. That was 1987. I have worn many hats for Colonial Williamsburg, from floodways interpreter (where I was introduced to ALHFAM at Salem in the 90’s), Costume Department Supervisor, Business Analyst, Manager of Evening Programming, Compensation Analyst, and my final resting place, Master of the Weaving Shop. My husband finds wool, looms, spinning wheels, and their tools in every room of the house, but the line was drawn when I asked for sheep.
Susie MarchandSusie works at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont on the Education Team managing Family Programs (including the Children’s Farmyard); planning and teaching professional development workshops for non formal educators, teachers and farmers in Farm Based Education; and coordinates the Dairy 4-H club based at the farm. Going on 24 years at Shelburne Farms, I continue to be passionate about re-connecting visitors to food and fiber systems through hands on programming, and connecting to one of our main goals of developing an awareness and appreciation of agriculture and natural resources.
I found this amazing ALHFAMily in 2011 at the Annual Conference at Jackson’s Mill and knew immediately that you all were “my people”! ALHFAM is an incredible resource for it’s’ members with amazing regional and annual conferences, a great website with many resources to explore, and a network of support year round. I am excited to be on the board and look forward to working with you all!
An almost native Vermonter, I live in Charlotte with my husband, two kids, chickens and any other pet my kids talk me into (it’s not hard!). I love animals - cows, chickens and frogs are at the top of my list. Being outdoors exploring with a camera in my hand makes me happy and always reminds me to appreciate all of the beauty that is around us every day!
Mike can often be found at his site with his beloved printing press showing school kids how to operate it. He can also be found on top of various mountains, ridges, or at waterfalls on his hikes around O`ahu.
The minutes of the Summer 2016 Board of Directors meeting are now available. Open/Download a PDF Version
Board Meeting Minutes Archive