Annual meeting celebrates 2016 accomplishments

Annual meeting celebrates 2016 accomplishments

The Kent Historical Society celebrated its accomplishments in 2016 and honored a number of volunteers during its Annual Meeting Sunday, Oct. 16 in Kent Town Hall.

President Mike Everett welcomed everyone to the event and went through some of the highlights of the previous year. He mentioned that three grants have been received for the renovation of Tallman House into an Art and Archives Storage Area. He also explained there has been much work to organize the administrative floor of the building

The Collections Committee has received a number of donations from the late Marie Camp and from her family after she passed away this year. The committee continues to try to assimilate the material into the collection. He also mentioned a number of the events, including the Sunday Series, the Summer Art Enrichment for children and the Musicale and Spirited Tea in the spring, and thanked those responsible for organizing and orchestrating the details. One of the major accomplishments was the re-clapboarding of Seven Hearths that was finished and then the siding was painted with a second coat of stain in the summer. Almost all of the trim on the windows and doors has also been painted this year. Monthly curators’ tours were conducted from July through October that were long detailed discussions of how an old house, like Seven Hearths, is restored. These were conducted by Curator Marge Smith and trustee Jeffrey Morgan.

The Summer Postcard Exhibit at the town-owned Swift House was held in June through August, with a walking tour offered in July. There was a new version of the organization’s Constitution and Bylaws adopted and ratified by the members. This document was last amended in 2012.The election of officers and trustees was held:


  • President Mike Everett, term ends 2017
  • Vice President Lynn Mellis Worthington, term ends 2019  
  • Secretary Melissa Cherniske, term ends 2018
  • Treasurer Bruce Whipple, term ends 2019


  • Jeffrey Morgan, one-year term
  • Deborah Chabrian, one-year term
  • Roger Gonzales, two-year term
  • Kent Freeman, two-year term
  • Kate Vick, three-year term
  • Austi Brown, three-year term
Volunteers thanked

Several people ended their tenure on the Board of Trustees and Mr. Everett recognized those who had stepped down and gave them each a hand-created token of thanks. Beth Dooley was honored for her long tenure that stretched back to when Miss Emily Hopson served as president. Zanne Charity, who has been on for five years, was recognized for her efforts particularly in programs and outreach efforts of the society, and for the renovation of the Seven Hearth garage into the Art Barn. Patti Case was thanked for her time on the board and her willingness to continue on as a volunteer for the Collections Committee. Tim Good and Nancy Schaefer were unable to attend but were also thanked for their time on the board.

The Board of Trustees also honored two long-time members with a new designation – Distinguished Member – and Fran Johnson and Ky Anderson were both recognized. Ms. Anderson was able to attend and graciously accepted a hand-crafted certificate from Mr. Everett. The docents who volunteered during the summer’s Postcard exhibit at the Swift House were also honored for their service to the society and each presented with a small gift.

Signature Quilt

Finally, the Kent Quilters were honored and thanked for creating and donating the 2016 Signature Quilt to the Society. All attending were called up to the front to stand next to the displayed quilt. Jane Suttell Zatlin, group organizer of the Kent Quilters, shared a little information about the group. The three-panel quilt includes 600 signatures from Kent residents and six different iconic scenes from town. The ceremony marked the official acceptance of the quilt into the Society’s permanent collection. The 25 quilters were thanked and recognized by the society’s members. The event then adjourned to an entertaining presentation by Nick Bellantoni on “Vampires in New England,” the final Sunday Series of the year.

Three grants awarded to support art and archives preservation area

Three grants awarded to support art and archives preservation area

The Kent Historical Society reported last fall that it was working to plan for the future collections and storage needs and we are fortunate that we’ve had three different granting institutions support our efforts. We will have over $26,000 in grants to assist in our efforts to create the Art and Archives Storage Area in Tallman House and provide climate-controlled storage for the extension art collection of George Laurence Nelson’s artwork, as well as the Society’s archives collection.

The Society has been awarded $4,000 from the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation from the Edwin M. Stone and Edith H. Stone Fund, $5,000 for Historic Preservation from the national Daughters of the American Revolution, and $17,394 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The IMLS grant is the Society’s first federal grant ever received.

The Nelson art was previously stored in the Seven Hearths Museum. Seven Hearths is not climate controlled, and although the oil paintings have tolerated the far less than ideal conditions fairly well, the works on paper have not. The renovation will include building storage bins of inert material that will safely house the wide variety of paintings that the Society owns, including oil, watercolors as well as lithographs. There will also be a dehumidifier installed.

Our grant applications were supported by a report from Richard L. Kerschner, Conservation Consultant on Museum Environments, who aided the Society’s plan to renovate the lowest level of Tallman House for collections storage. After thoroughly inspecting both Seven Hearths and Tallman House in October 2015, Kerschner quickly came to the conclusion that the tight, dry basement in Tallman offered the best place, for both structural and financial reasons.

The archives are also being moved from the main floor of Tallman to the new space downstairs to satisfy other strategic planning goals and protect the paper documents.

Moving the art collection will allow the Society to proceed with the evolving interpretation of the fur trading area in Seven Hearths. This area was previously used for storing the Nelson artwork.

The environmentally upgraded Art and Archives Area will provide the safest storage space possible on the society’s property. This move will help prevent further deterioration and damage to the artwork as well as increase the Society’s storage space.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant to KHS was one of 206 museum projects awarded that totaled $21 million. The museums were selected from a pool of 548 applications to the highly competitive Museums for America grant program.


Signature Quilt accepted into collection

Signature Quilt accepted into collection

The Kent Historical Society will formally accept the 2016 Signature Quilt into its permanent collection during its Annual Meeting Sunday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. in the Kent Town Hall.

The quilt was designed and sewn by the Kent Quilters, a group of 20 local women, who created the beautiful quilt that features 600 signatures of Kent residents that are highlighted by appliques that depict several Kent scenes, as well as a band of curving blue symbolizing the Housatonic River.

The signature quilt project was begun as a way to permanently preserve signatures from full- and part-time Kent residents. It also became a fundraiser for the Historical Society with residents paying $5 to include their signature.

One of aspects of the quilt is that it will capture a look at who was living in the town in 2016 for people in the future looking back at the 21st century. Curator Marge Smith, who is also one of the Kent Quilters, has said that one benefit of signature quilts is that genealogists can use these quilts as a way to determine who lived in a town at a certain period of time.

Jane Zatlin, who is the group coordinator for the Kent Quilters, said the group enjoys working together on community quilts. The completed quilt was displayed in August at the Kent Sidewalk Festival.

The volunteer quilters were able to work with Kent Center School and got all of the students to each sign a muslin square to incorporate the town’s youngest residents into the quilt.