2023 Annual Conference Schedule

Community Matters: Linking Past and Present in Meaningful Ways

Monday, June 5, 2023  | Central Connecticut State University | Willard-DiLoreto Hall

Register for the conference

Below is the preliminary schedule of conference sessions. A PDF of the conference program will be available the week before the conference.

Schedule of Breakout Sessions

Session 1: 9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.

Session 2: 10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

Session 3: 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.

Session 4: 2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

Session 5: 3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

Session 1: 9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.

1A: Collections Protection

Kasey Calnan, Collections Manager, Boscobel House and Gardens, Garrison, NY

Brian Gouin, Senior Security Consultant, Nationwide Security Corporation

This session will help attendees understand why their responsibility to protect collections is so important. Ideas will be presented to mitigate threats by implementing security measures that fit within different budgets. The contents and purpose of collections emergency kits will also be discussed.

1B: Help! I Need Somebody: Enlivening History Through Community Input

Kristen Levithan, Education Specialist, Connecticut Explored

Kerri Ana Provost, CCHAP Archive Project Assistant, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford

Andrea Slater, Florence S. Marcy Crofut Archivist, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford

History is alive when organizations collaborate with the community. In this hybrid panel/think tank session, presenters will describe successful and mutually beneficial work highlighting Connecticut’s many cultures. This will culminate with an opportunity for community partners to provide input in an American Revolution simulation that’s under development. We want to hear from people about levels of interest in participating, and how we can help showcase our partners' holdings and advertise their events.

1C: Hidden Skills - Preparing for Audience-Centered Programming

Kristin Robinson, Founder/Interpretive Planner, Stage Naked, LLC

Audience-centered programs are experiences, talks and tours that rely on conversation with your audience instead of presenting to them. Preparation means more than developing a great arc of dialogue or understanding your current or desired audience segmentation. If your interpretive staff or volunteers are more comfortable with lecture-style program delivery, skill-building from their current strengths and within their current programs can aid their transition and make audience-centered work an exciting exploration they take with the audience.

1D: Engaging with the Gaps: Reinterpretation at Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center

Shannon Burke, Interpretive Consultant and Principal, Transformational Engagement

Katie Burton, Director of Strategic Storytelling, Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center, Ridgefield

Ishaar Gupta, Operations Associate, Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center, Ridgefield

Sesheta Holder, Justice & Equity Consultant, R & L Consulting, Arden, NC

Recognizing that many museums and historical societies are contemplating or undergoing similar efforts to be more inclusive and representative, internally and externally, this panel brings together staff and consultant contributors to KTM&HC’s major site reinterpretation project to share the project’s strategies, successes, challenges, and plans for the future.

1E: America 250 | CT – Learn About the Commission, Resources, and Give Your Input

Cyndi Tolosa, Development Officer, CT Humanities

Join this session to learn more about Connecticut’s Semiquincentennial Commission, resources that they have released, and resources that are coming very soon. Be part of the first group to preview the America 250 | CT planning guide and give your feedback on what is helpful and what more is still needed. Brainstorm projects and research questions related to the four themes of Connecticut’s commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the signing of the revolution.

Session 2: 10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

2A: Registration 101: Step-by-Step Guidelines from Object Accessioning to Date Entry

Kathy Craughwell-Varda, Director, Conservation ConneCTion, Connecticut State Library, Hartford

Diane Lee, CTCo Project Coordinator, CTCollections and Collections Manager, Fairfield Museum

Dana Meyer, CTCo Project Assistant, CLHO, New Britain

Are you overwhelmed by the paperwork for your museum collections? Are you unsure if you have the proper documentation? This session will take you through the steps of good collection management, including record keeping, managing your collection records using spreadsheets and sharing your collections through Connecticut Collections and similar programs.

2B: Working with Communities: A Forum on Partnership Programs with Our Community Partners

Mike Keo, Community Engagement Manager, Connecticut Historical Society

Kamora Herrington, Founder and Director, Kamora’s Cultural Corner, Hartford, and Co-Facilitator of We Belong: Youth Leadership and Community Cultures of Care Program

Elena Calderón Patiño, Director of the Community Arts Program, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, Providence, RI

Lorén M. Spears, Executive Director of the Tomaquag Museum, Exeter, RI, and Program Alumna of the Rhode Island Expansion Arts Program

Kate Schramm, Director of Cultural Sustainability, Connecticut Historical Society

Carlos Hernández Chávez, Día de Muertos Community Celebration Co-Director, Artist, Musician, Humanist, and Educator

Philitha Stemplys-Cowdrey, Manager, Southern New England Apprenticeship Program, Connecticut Historical Society

Rafael Feliciano-Roman, Founder and CEO, Afro Caribbean Cultural Center, Waterbury, and Southern New England Apprenticeship Program Ambassador

What is the role of institutions doing public-facing work and how do we do it together with community members? In this forum discussion, we will bring together representatives from our partner organizations and communities to share different programs that rely on participation and collaboration to consider belonging, accountability, and power.

2C: How 3D Scanning Can Transform Your Historic / Museum Experience

Tony Healy, President, Capture Visual Marketing, Simsbury, CT

Mell Scalzi, Registrar, Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, CT

Joan DiMartino, Museum Curator & Site Superintendent, Prudence Crandall Museum, Canterbury, CT

As museums and other historic sites become more popular tourist destinations, the way people interact with them is changing. Are you keeping up? With 3D scanning services, you can augment your museum experience with AR/VR solutions, collect data on artifacts, create stunning online databases, and make your museum a more enriching place for visitors. Hear stories from actual users about the potential impact.

2D: Working with Indigenous Tribal Nations in Connecticut: “Native Peoples of Connecticut” Documentary Project Case Study

Karyl Evans, Producer/Director: Six-Time Emmy Award-Winning Filmmaker, Karyl Evans Productions

Brenda Geer, Co-Producer: Vice-Chairwoman of the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation, and Chairwoman of the Native American Heritage Advisory Council in Connecticut

endawnis Spears (Diné/Ojibwe/Chickasaw /Choctaw): Researcher/Writer/Tribal Relations Consultant, and Director of Programming and Outreach for Akomawt Education Initiative

The primary objective of this session is to help inform the audience about working respectfully and successfully with Indigenous Tribal Nations of Connecticut. The members of the panel have been working together for more than two years on a feature length documentary film project, “Native Peoples of Connecticut”, about the history and current affairs of the five State and Federally recognized Native American Tribes in Connecticut. The panelists will discuss their process of approaching the tribes, building working relationships, timelines and scheduling, looking at your project from a Native perspective, respecting tribal stories and voices, and the sharing of the assets and final projects. Funded by two CT Humanities planning grants, this project is still in the planning / researching / writing phase; learning many important lessons about collaborating with Indigenous Peoples in the process.

2E: Connecting the Classroom & Museum

Jennifer Heikkila Diaz, Professional Learning Coordinator, CT Council for the Social Studies

Stephen Armstrong, Social Studies Consultant

Join us to learn about the new K-12 CT social studies content standards and how historical societies and schools have been partnering to enhance students' learning experiences with standards-aligned, inquiry-based local history lessons in and outside of the classroom!

Session 3: 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.

3A: Marketing Q&A

Emily Clark, Marketing Associate, Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme

Josh Dennis, Director of Digital Strategy, Haymaker Creative

Rich Denver, Creative Director and Graphic Designer, Haymaker Creative

Tammi Flynn, Director of Marketing, Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme

Do you have burning questions about your museum's marketing efforts? Then ask the experts from Haymaker Creative and the Marketing Team at Florence Griswold Museum! They will provide real, actionable marketing advice from questions submitted by our members.

3B: Changing the Way the Narrative is Communicated: A Contemporary Look at Collecting for Future Generations

Samariya Smith, Community History Project Manager, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford

In this workshop, museum professionals will understand the value of taking the museum to their respective communities, and experience how collecting oral histories can make a significant difference in changing the narrative for how we collect history as organizations, and how important it is to be equitable in our efforts.

3C: From Bee Skeps to Venus de Milo: Creative Exhibit Outcomes to Enhance the Visitor Experience

Kathy Craughwell-Varda, Director, Conservation ConneCTion, Connecticut State Library, Hartford

Elysa Engelman, Director of Exhibits, Mystic Seaport Museum

Maggie Dimock, Curator of Exhibitions & Collections, Greenwich Historical Society

Dayne Rugh, Director, Slater Museum, Norwich

Andres Verzosa, Executive Director & Curator, Stanley-Whitman House, Farmington

Museum makeovers typically focus on making improvements to permanent exhibits with the hope that new displays will bring in more visitors. But what if that one-size-fits-all solution, isn’t what your museum needs? Is there a creative approach that will work better for both staff/volunteers and visitors? In this session participants will learn about two Museum Makeover projects and how the collaborations between museum staff and Museum Makeover’s Traveling Curators led to unexpected and highly effective outcomes.

3D: Addressing the Legacies of Discrimination: Making Slavery and Freedom an Integral Part of the Local Colonial Stories We Tell

Amy Fernand Boulton, Director of Development, Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

Elizabeth Devine, Independent Education Consultant

Jennifer DiCola Matos, Museum Administrator, Museum of Connecticut History, Hartford

Dr. Tracey Wilson, Education Consultant and Town Historian, West Hartford

This session encourages historical societies to uncover histories of slavery and freedom in their colonial town. Panelists will discuss how to interpret and integrate this information to tell the colonial narrative of their town. Historical societies will be challenged to shift their gaze to include and engage a broader community. Speakers will share examples of successful community engagement projects and improved programming generated by this work.

3E: Including Voices, Voicing for Inclusion: Recovering and Sharing Forgotten Voices of the Revolutionary War through Federal Money and Private-University Partnerships

Anna Fossi, Graduate Student, CCSU, New Britain

Leah Glaser, Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain

Andy King, Graduate Student, CCSU, New Britain

Dana Meyer, Graduate Student, CCSU, New Britain and Project Assistant, Connecticut Collections, CLHO

Peter Moran, Historical Consultant

Cheyenne Tracy, Graduate Student, CCSU, New Britain

We will present an innovative project, funded by the National Park Service, that brought that together an interdisciplinary team of educators, archivists, university students, and historians to interpret the Revolutionary War in revolutionary ways. A resulting audio tour produced by CRIS radio, makes accessible the research for the sight-impaired about the roles of women, African Americans, and Native Americans at the Redding Encampment.

Lunchtime Discussions

Board and Committee Member Exchange Program

Carolyn Venne, Executive Director, Friends of Wood Memorial Library & Museum, South Windsor

Join a brainstorming session on how to “exchange” staff, interns, volunteers and paid contractors from your organization with others. By providing opportunities for cross-training, perhaps we can share some best practices and additional points of view, linking our museums and paving the ways for new and unexpected partnerships and collaborations.

Turning Points in History: What stories can your organization tell?

Rebecca Taber, Head of History Day, CT Democracy Center

Want to encourage middle and high school students to do research at your organization? Join in the discussion about the 2024 History Day Annual Theme of "Turning Points in History" and share your ideas for topics, resources, and ways to reach students and their teachers.

Session 4: 2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

4A: Lights, Camera, CULTURE! - How Your Organization Can Create Meaningful Media

Peter Moran, Digital Educator, The Barnum Museum, Bridgeport

Adrienne Saint-Pierre, Curator, The Barnum Museum, Bridgeport

Rui Pinho - Rui Pinho Creative

Will Sarris - Producer, William Sarris Productions

We SHOULD be making digital content about our organization, but where to start? What does it accomplish? Will it discourage in-person attendance? Can we afford it? Learn how you - Yes, You! - can create, fund, and distribute content that empowers your organization and enhances engagement with your community.

4B: Building A Community Oral History Infrastructure

John Cappadona, President, Wintonbury Historical Society, Bloomfield

Ruthanne Marchetti, Vice President, Wintonbury Historical Society, Bloomfield

Fiona Vernal, Associate Professor, History and Africana Studies, UCONN

Donna Wnuck, Member, Bloomfield Humanities Committee

This panel provides an overview of Bloomfield Mosaics, one of the projects anchoring CT Humanities' new initiative, the Connecticut Oral History Project. Themes include: how communities can leverage technical assistance and training to collect, preserve, and integrate oral histories into their public programming; how to use oral histories to develop and share more inclusive stories of our past and present; lessons learned from collaborations with key stakeholders and oral history narrators; and potential models for launching a community oral history project.

4C: Creating and Repurposing Content for a Variety of Communication and Technology Avenues

Carolyn Venne, Executive Director, Friends of Wood Memorial Library & Museum, South Windsor

Jessica Vogelgesang, Communications Director, Friends of Wood Memorial Library & Museum, South Windsor

Learn how to create original content that can be used across a variety of communication mediums. Explore how different audiences are attracted to different media and how to work smarter not harder in your messaging. Learn how to use free or low-cost technology and software to enhance your messaging.

4D: History Through Her Stories

Ashley Aberg, Project Archivist at the Greenwich Historical Society

Elise Maragliano, Museum Coordinator at the Katharine Hepburn Museum, Old Saybrook

It is often said that the past is a foreign country—perhaps to understand it better what we need is the right guide. This session will look at how two museums have used the life stories of two very different women—Frances Geraghty and Katharine Hepburn—to help visitors glimpse into the past and reflect on how that has shaped our present. Looking at the lives of Frances Geraghty and Katherine Hepburn, one would think that they could not be two more different people. Frances, a poor working woman from Greenwich, and Katharine, a world-famous Hollywood actress from Old Saybrook, are essentially from two different worlds. Through examining the artifacts and archives associate with these two women, however, we encounter many points of intersection between their lives and pivotal moments in American culture that have shaped the world we experience today.

4E: Connecticut Collections Basics, and Getting the Most out of CollectiveAccess

Seth Kaufman, Lead Developer, Whirl-i-Gig, Inc.

Diane Lee, CTCo Project Manager, CLHO and Collections Manager, Fairfield Museum

Dana Meyer, CTCo Project Assistant, CLHO, New Britain

Focusing on Connecticut Collections members (but of course everyone is welcome), come learn about how the CollectiveAccess collections management system works from one of the most knowledgeable—its own developer. We plan on talking about some of the new features of the system, but also introducing users and prospective users to the basics.

Session 5: 3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

5A: Resources for Nonprofits: A Funding Toolkit

Becky Vitkauskas, Grants Assistant, CT Humanities

Scott Wands, Deputy Director of Grants and Programs, CT Humanities

Is your organization seeking funding for a project? Not sure where to start? Join CT Humanities as we walk you through our own funding opportunities, opportunities through other funders around the state, and additional resources for grant writers!

5B: My Town, My Story: A Framework for Preserving Our Collective History

Greg Colati, Director, Connecticut Digital Archive

Michael Howser, Repository Manager, Connecticut Digital Archive

Across communities, digital photos, videos, and documents are created daily yet few are preserved. The challenge of preserving exponentially growing, digitally vulnerable content is why the CTDA is developing My Town, My Story, a framework for individuals and community groups to work with their local place-based organization to preserve their memories as part of a collective community history.

5C: Where Are You Now and Where Do You Want to Be? An Interactive Mapping Exercise to Orient Your Organization Toward a Better, Healthier, and More Inclusive Future

John Cusano, Systems Advisor and Project & Research Consultant for the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County

Reflecting on the room’s labeled geography, each participant moves to a spot that ‘maps’ their present circumstances. A facilitated full group dialogue, guided by discussion prompts, supports participant–generated ideas about how to improve inclusion and engagement. Everyone listens, supports, adds their voice, and commits to a specific action.

5D: The Legacy of James Lindsey Smith

Adam Bowles, Lead Pastor, Castle Church Norwich

Shiela Hayes, Past President, Norwich Branch, NAACP

Regan Miner, Executive Director, Norwich Historical Society

Sandra Soucy, Secretary, Norwich Historical Society

This talk explores the multi-faceted nature of enslavement, racial issues, education, political history, and religion. Our talk will feature an overview of James Lindsey Smith’s life, explore how modern research helps us attach a sense of place to his story, and how Castle Church is using Smith’s legacy to transform a blighted courtyard into a beautiful community space that celebrates resilience.

5E: Experiencing Connecticut History Day: Students Sharing Their 2023 Projects

Rebecca Taber, Head of History Day, CT Democracy Center

Experience Connecticut History Day and see students in action as they present their 2023 projects. Discover how participants explore local topics and learn more about getting involved.

Connecticut League of Museums
Central Connecticut State UniversityDepartment of History
1615 Stanley Street
New Britain, CT 06050
(860) 832-2674

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