(Host) The director of the Vermont Historical Society is stepping down. Gainor Davis says she’ll leave in December, after six years on the job.
VPR’s Steve Zind reports.
(Zind) The Historical Society has seen some significant changes under Davis. The organization has moved its library and offices to the new history center in Barre. An expansion of the Society’s museum in Montpelier is under way. And the organization launched a $10 million capitol campaign.
Historical Society President Peter Mallary says Davis was hired to help the organization get through the most important period in its history.
(Mallary) “We had to find someone who had development experience, good historical credentials, who could come in and help us through that process. We found Gainor and she came and we found the building in Barre, and we moved ahead through a process that I think without Gainor we could not have done.”
(Zind) Davis says she’s worked to get the Vermont Historical Society on sound financial footing. She says she’s also tried to expand the organization’s work with local historical societies, schools and with the people of Vermont.
(Davis) “Quite often, historical organizations were looking to only a very small group of people as their audience: the 500 scholars who might use their libraries. I thought it would be nice to try to bring history to the general public and I think that’s one of the things that’s been so exciting about working on this job.”
(Zind) Davis says she plans to devote more time to writing and studying history. She plans to write a book on how America’s 1876 Centennial celebration served as a catalyst for a consumer revolution in interior design. It was the subject of her doctoral thesis.
(Davis) “I’m a historian and I realized that as I got further and further into administration that I was missing some of that.”
(Zind) The Vermont Historical Society will conduct a nationwide search for Davis’ replacement. Peter Mallary says a new director will probably be named in the spring.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.