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On Board with Laurie McGavin Bachmann

Laurie brings her art history and museum education experience to the board's Special Projects Committee.

Can you tell us about your background and what drew you to the Ridgefield Historical Society?

    With an art history and museum education background, I have worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum while living in New York City. What drew me to the Ridgefield Historical Society was a conversation I had with Tracy Seem, the Ridgefield Historical Society President, about meeting notes I had taken for a collaborative project with the Ridgefield Library, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and the Ridgefield Historical Society. She told me she liked the way I articulated the big picture as well as the details and that the RHS needed a Recording Secretary. She also shared her own art history background working for The Glass House in New Canaan. I found a kindred spirit and began a three-year post working on the RHS Board as Recording Secretary.

    How long have you lived in Ridgefield and what brought you here? 

    We moved to Ridgefield from Park Slope in Brooklyn in 2002, having had a very close brush with 9/11 in downtown Manhattan. My husband is an architect and was working on a new building for Boehringer Ingelheim at the time. We took a look at Ridgefield’s charming Main Street and the excellent school system and decided to make the move “to the country.”

    What is your area of focus on the Board of Directors at the Historical Society? 

    I was Recording Secretary from 2020 to 2023 and it has been a privilege to chronicle the growth of this flourishing organization. While on the Board, numerous (and significant) grants were awarded, a new Executive Director, Stephen Bartkus, was appointed along with a dedicated Executive Assistant, Kendra Menary and Membership Chair, Tatjana Witzmann. The Society was also establishing its strategic plan with First Vice President Kip Schibli and a very knowledgeable  and ambitious Finance Chair/Treasurer, Steven March joined the Society. Currently, I am moving to a new Special Projects role on the Board.

    What is your favorite era of history? Is there a particular historical person, event, or topic you’re most interested in?

    One historic site that is very meaningful to us in Ridgefield is St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. We have found that its welcoming community, wonderful music programs and beautiful sanctuary have been significant to our family and the dear friends we have met there. When we first moved to Ridgefield my husband and I were actively involved in the church’s “Restore and Renew” campaign, raising significant funds to paint the entire interior of the church, restore the organ pipes and provide professional lighting for the inspirational writings that flank the striking central stained-glass window given in loving memory of Clara Alsop Russell and Samuel Wadsworth Russell. This restoration project took over two years to complete and was a very meaningful way for us to contribute our time and energy to renovate this wonderful, historic building.

    What other interests do you have?

    I am a singer in a local Ridgefield ensemble, the Camerata d’Amici, a 30-member auditioned chorale. We perform three concerts per year and our repertoire ranges from ancient, to classical to contemporary. I also like to draw and paint and keep up with the old-fashioned art of letter writing.


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