For Immediate Release: 2/9/2022
RIDGEFIELD, CT: “If not now, when? If not us, who?”
That was the line of reasoning, as the town entered the 21st Century, that drove a handful of dedicated Ridgefield citizens, members of the Ridgefield Preservation Trust, to bring a Historical Society to Ridgefield, a town steeped in history and heritage. Buoyed by their rescue of the historic David Scott House, they laid the plans for a permanent home for the society.
Now, 20 years later, the Ridgefield Historical Society (RHS) is taking another big step, with the hiring of its first-ever executive director.
“We’ve earned it,” says Tracy Seem, president of the RHS board. “For two decades, our organization has operated largely on the time and talents of our Board and volunteers. And while our commitment has not wavered, it’s the right time to add an executive director to our current staff to sit at the center of our vision and mission. We are very excited to welcome Nancy Rowe, a Ridgefield resident with just the right combination of professionalism and passion, to the position.”
Rowe comes to the Historical Society with over three decades of experience in marketing, communications, and program management at both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, including tenures at Estee Lauder, Inc., the New York City Marathon, and most recently at RVNAhealth, another Ridgefield-based organization to which she remains close. Rowe and her family — Scott, Madeleine, and Georgia Loomis — first moved to Ridgefield in 2011, but it was a homecoming of sorts. Rowe’s great grandaunt and great granduncle, Pearl and Paulino Gerli, lived on Old Branchville Road nearly a century ago and are buried among family in St. Mary Cemetery on North Street.
For Rowe, coming to the Ridgefield Historical Society marks a welcome return to her liberal arts roots and brings a gratifying intersection of work and life. “The history of Ridgefield, from distant past to recent past to the present, enriches our days and brings perspective, understanding, and curiosity to our lives. I’m very thankful to be part of this exceptional team that preserves, identifies, and shares all that makes Ridgefield special.” Rowe joins current RHS staff members Collections Manager Betsy Reid and Administrator Ruth Van Den Nieuwenhuizen at the Society headquarters, the David Scott House on Sunset Lane. Kathryn Tufano, who had served as the organization’s Development & Marketing Director since 2018, relocated to Vermont earlier this year.
Kay Ables, Ridgefield Town Historian, who was there at the start in 2001 and continues to serve on the RHS Board today, views the addition of an executive director with her usual optimism and good sense. “We have an amazing group of people at the Ridgefield Historical Society, who treasure Ridgefield history and enjoy sharing it with those who want to learn more. With Nancy joining the team, we can continue to bring our history to more people, in more ways, and ensure our progress for further decades to come.”