Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz has appointed Dr. Taylor Stoermer, formerly of Colonial Williamsburg and Brown University, as Director of Strategy, Development, and Interpretation. According to a recent press release: “He is responsible for managing an ambitious strategic planning process over the next nine months to establish a new, sustainable foundation for Huguenot Street that strengthens its ties with the past, with modern guests, and with the broader regional community.”
Dr. Stoermer will also oversee historic interpretation, programming, marketing, fundraising, public communication, and political affairs. Rebecca Mackey remains at Huguenot Street in her recently announced role as Director of Operations, responsible for all administrative, site improvement and restoration, financial, and day-to-day operations of the site.
Dr. Stoermer is an alumnus of Tulane University in New Orleans, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where he earned his doctorate in early American history. He has taught at the University of Virginia, Brown University, and the College of William & Mary, and published on a variety of subjects from the political education of George Washington to religious history in the 18th century.
His most recent appointment was at Colonial Williamsburg from 2010 to 2013, where he wrote the “Revolutionary City” master narrative and implementation plan, oversaw interpreter education, was half of the team that reinterpreted most of the organization’s public programs, was the spokesperson for historical affairs, managed the fellowship program, and assisted with fundraising, among other responsibilities. He also was one of the creators of Colonial Williamsburg’s RevQuest: Save the Revolution! alternate reality experience, which is that institution’s single most popular program for kids and families, and is the author of the forthcoming Official Guide to Colonial Williamsburg.
“For a public historian, it is the chance of a lifetime to help lead an institution like Historic Huguenot Street, which has such a rich history of its own and practically unparalleled historical resources in its original buildings, its extensive collections, and in the extraordinary stories of the people who made it, from the original settlers to their modern descendants,” Stoermer in the a statement to the press. “The potential is tremendous for Huguenot Street to be a beacon for historic sites around the country in connecting with modern audiences and the surrounding community in relevant, engaging, and innovative ways. I simply cannot think of a better, more exciting place for a public historian to be than right now on Historic Huguenot Street.”
Dr. Stoermer makes frequent appearances in print and electronic media, from the BBC to C-SPAN, where he remains an adviser for history programming. Prior to pursuing his PhD, he was an aide in the U.S. House and Senate, worked in senior capacities on several congressional campaigns, and was communications director for a national political organization.
Over 2014, Historic Huguenot Street is expected to refresh the entire guest experience, including new methods of interpretation, an expanded range of public programming and other events, a greater attention to historical foundations, and broader community involvement. With staff expansion and targeted investments, Huguenot Street is aiming for greater visibility and visitation as the Strategic Planning process commences.
Set to be launched in March, a Strategic Planning committee, guided by Dr. Stoermer and including national and regional leaders in tourism, history, interpretation, art, museums, and site planning, will then proceed to hone Huguenot Street’s mission and develop a workable master plan.