As a brand new yr started and the Three Village Historic Society seemed towards the long run, a brand new board was sworn in, together with new president Jeff Schnee.
Beforehand co-vice president of the society, Schnee takes over the place that Stephen Healy has held for the previous 5 years.
The brand new society president stated he grew up in Queens, and when he arrived within the Three Village space to attend Stony Brook College within the mid-Nineteen Seventies, he by no means seemed again. After graduating, he lived by the historic society headquarters on Major Road in Setauket for eight years and now resides in Previous Area.
Just a few years in the past, Schnee stated when he joined the society’s board, it wasn’t essentially a love for historical past that introduced him to turn out to be a member of the historic society however a want to assist the neighborhood, one thing that he has aimed to do since his faculty days when he helped to start out SBU’s dorm patrol stroll service and to deliver a pupil cafe to the college’s Gershwin constructing.
“I used to be all the time all for neighborhood service,” he stated. “I believe it’s one thing everybody ought to do.”
The Dominick-Crawford Barn additionally drew him to the society. The pre-Civil Battle barn as soon as sat throughout the road from his residence in Previous Area. Resulting from lack of repairs and publicity to the weather, it was in poor situation.
When the historic society approached the Previous Area board of trustees about shifting the barn to the sphere adjoining its headquarters, Schnee stated it was the proper transfer. With talks happening in regards to the barn, he determined to hitch the historic society six years in the past.
As for the way forward for the barn, which will probably be repaired and used for a museum and training middle, the brand new president stated he’s excited. When the climate will get hotter, there will probably be a groundbreaking and work will start with plans for an archives middle on the second ground. The hope is that the barn will probably be accomplished inside the yr, Schnee stated.
With an archives area, residents will be capable to come to the barn and work with the archives, and the museum will present alternatives for varsity journeys.
“What we attempt to do is to make the local people conscious of the historical past right here,” he stated.
TVHS can be aiming to start the digitalization of its archives to make them extra accessible to the general public. For 2 months this spring, a gaggle will are available in and archive the society’s portray assortment, based on Schnee. Then a plan will probably be developed to determine what platform to make use of to digitize the entire archives, a course of which may take just a few years.
Schnee makes it clear to everybody that he’s not an skilled on native historical past however feels he brings loads to the desk resulting from his training and profession background that covers the fields of know-how, funds, IT and enterprise.
“I’m not a historian, historical past was by no means my factor,” he stated. “I’m an operations man.”
All through his profession, Schnee has labored with human assets professionals and facility departments which have enhanced his talent set.
“I’m a brand new device within the toolbox for the Three Village Historic Society,” he stated.
“I’m not a historian, historical past was by no means my factor. I’m an operations man.”
— Jeff Schnee
Since he grew to become co-vice president two years in the past, the historic society has needed to face the challenges that arrived with COVID-19. The society couldn’t maintain occasions on the top of the pandemic and wasn’t capable of recruit new board members. The society members turned to Zoom to conduct conferences in addition to for lectures and academic applications.
Know-how additionally got here in helpful as employees members switched to working from residence as an alternative of the workplace, Schnee stated, with the society switching from counting on a server and to utilizing a cloud-based product.
With COVID-19 mandates being lifted, the group is trying to get again into motion. Final summer time and fall, the society was capable of host its farmers and artisans market. Schnee stated because the society started to recruit new board members as soon as once more, they seemed for folks with expertise in archiving, human assets and grant writing.
One other new objective is to work with different native organizations, he stated, equivalent to museums and different artwork and historic organizations.
“We will be working collectively, as a result of a patron who involves the Three Village Historic Society — they’re all for educating themselves — and it might both be the Culper Spy Ring or it may very well be for the Hen Hill exhibit, to speak a few neighborhood that existed right here up to now, or so simple as to search out out the historical past of their residence,” he stated, including that the society has the archives to assist folks find out about their residence or road the place they stay.
“So, as soon as they end our excursions, they’re going to go and look some other place and half the time they ask us for what else is within the space to do?”
He stated relationships might be cultivated through the society’s annual Candlelight Home Tour and the farmers market. This yr the Reboli Heart for Artwork & Historical past was a cease for the tour and the place individuals had been capable of choose up their occasion tickets. The suggestions from the middle was that many individuals instructed them they didn’t notice the middle existed. He stated the historic society working with Gallery North on occasions has additionally been useful.
As for sharing native historical past, Schnee is worked up a few new app known as Tapestry. With a $125,000 grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Basis, the historic society will probably be working with an organization to develop an augmented actuality expertise and will probably be solely one in all 5 museums to have AR added to one in all its reveals. Preliminary work has been performed, and the hope is that the TVHS will be capable to launch it in early spring.
Guests will be capable to use their smartphones on the Spies! exhibit on the society’s headquarters to obtain the app after which level at totally different footage and artifacts which can deliver up extra academic content material.
“If you end the tour, you’ll then take your smartphone, and it’ll information you all through the neighborhood to a couple traditionally vital websites of the Culper Spy Ring, and then you definately maintain the cellphone up, level at some totally different landmarks, and also you’ll see how issues had been up to now.”
Schnee stated when he attended Stony Brook College, he didn’t notice the wealthy historical past of the world.
“Truthfully, I didn’t know the George Washington spies had been in Setauket,” he stated. “I didn’t find out about Hen Hill. I didn’t know that existed.”
With the appreciation of native historical past he’s developed over time — although he stated he can solely give the 5 cent tour — he’s prepared for the way forward for TVHS.
Above, Three Village Historic Society’s new president Jeff Schnee, proper, together with his spouse, Jeri-Ann, middle, and son Dan. Under, Schnee at Culper Spy Day final September. Photograph from Jeff Schnee