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Historic Huguenot Street Welcomes New Executive Director, Liselle LaFrance

NEW PALTZ, NY – Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) is pleased to announce the hiring of its new Executive Director, Liselle LaFrance.

Ms. LaFrance is an award-winning museum professional and has served as the Director of Historic Cherry Hill in Albany for 26 years. In this role, she oversaw development of a long-range interpretive plan, including an award-winning tour, “The Rankins of Cherry Hill: Struggling with the Loss of Their World,” featured in the June 2003 issue of the Journal of American History. Historic Cherry Hill was also the recipient of a 2009 “Outstanding Commitment to the Preservation and Care of Collections” award from the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and Heritage Preservation, and a 2014 Stewardship Award from the Historic Albany Foundation, and LaFrance received an individual 2014 Award of Merit from the Museum Association of New York (MANY).

Under Ms. LaFrance’s leadership, Historic Cherry Hill was named the “Best Historic Site in the Hudson Valley” by Hudson Valley Magazine in 2000. In response to structural risks discovered in 2003, the organization constructed the Edward Frisbee Center for Collections & Research, which now holds the museum’s full collection: over 20,000 objects, 30,000 manuscripts, 7,500 textiles, 5,000 books, and 3,000 photographs.

In addition to her work at Historic Cherry Hill, Ms. LaFrance is a noted museum expert, serving as a member of the Visiting Committee for the American Alliance of Museums’ (AAM) Accreditation Program, as well as an AAM Museum Assessment Program Reviewer. In 2012, she founded Partners for Albany Stories (PASt), a collaboration of 11 historic entities developing a city-wide interpretive plan.

Ms. LaFrance holds a BA in American Studies from St. Michael’s College in Winooski, Vermont. She is a former Board member of the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Upstate History Alliance, and has served as a grant reviewer for the New York State Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the New Jersey Historical Commission. She previously worked for the Federation of Historical Services in Troy, NY, and the Berkshire County Historical Society/Arrowhead in Pittsfield, MA.

“I am honored to join the professional team at HHS,” said Ms. LaFrance. “I have treasured my 26-year tenure at Historic Cherry Hill, and I see parallels to the opportunities that now lie before Historic Huguenot Street. I am impressed with the organization’s progress, which will provide a great platform for growth with expanded funding and greater recognition and appreciation of this national treasure.”

“Historic Huguenot Street is excited to have found a proven leader in Liselle LaFrance,” said Mary Etta Schneider, Board Chair. “Our Search Committee, Board of Trustees, and staff members were equally impressed by her outstanding credentials, her track record of success, and her ambitious work ethic. We are thrilled to begin working with Liselle to develop long-term strategic and site plans that will provide the framework for our programming, publications, and exhibitions in the years ahead – based on appropriate standards of scholarship and offered to as broad a segment of the public as possible.”

About Historic Huguenot Street
A National Historic Landmark District, Historic Huguenot Street is a 501(c)3 non-profit that encompasses 30 buildings across 10 acres comprising the heart of the original 1678 New Paltz settlement, including seven stone houses dating to the early eighteenth century. Historic Huguenot Street was founded in 1894 as the Huguenot Patriotic, Historical, and Monumental Society to preserve the nationally acclaimed collection of stone houses. Since then, Historic Huguenot Street has grown into an innovative museum, chartered as an educational corporation by the University of the State of New York Department of Education, that is dedicated to protecting our historic buildings, preserving an important collection of artifacts and manuscripts, and promoting the stories of the Huguenot Street families from the seventeenth century to today.


Liselle LaFrance in the Historic Cherry Hill Edward Frisbee Center for Collections & Research on Friday Dec. 14, 2012, in Albany, N.Y. (Lori Van Buren / Times Union)