Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) has again changed its management structure. Seven months after appointing Dr. Taylor Stoermer as its day-to-day director for strategy, development and historic preservation, the New Paltz Huguenot historical organization announced that effective last week he would no longer hold that position. Instead, HHS said, Stoermer, appointed to the position this February, would focus on completing a strategic plan for the historic landmark district and pursuing other opportunities that have recently arisen.”
“Now is the right time for me to step back and take a broader view of the organization’s strategic position as I complete the plan and work on exciting new heritage initiatives for Ulster County and the Hudson Valley,” said Stoermer, previously at Colonial Williamsburg, in a joint statement with the HHS board of directors.
Stoermer hired and trained new people to a variety of positions, replacing a number of veteran staffers. There was some unhappiness about the staff changes. He developed a new interpretive and programming model that focused on improvements in the guest experience. He put into place a targeted fundraising system and new membership structure. Under his stewardship, the release said, Historic Huguenot Street has already exceeded total donations, visitation and memberships for all of 2013.
“There is no question that Historic Huguenot Street is now on the right path as a result of Dr. Stoermer’s direction,” said Mary Etta Schneider, board chair and president, in the press release. “His contributions to the institution have been beyond our expectations, and while we will miss his energetic and enthusiastic presence on the street we look forward to continuing to work with him as we complete the strategic plan.”
Schneider will be out of New Paltz for another week. In a telephone conversation, she said she would be addressing questions of staff leadership upon her return. “We’re committed to remaining on the path,” she said, “and keeping to an institutional vision [for] being the center for tourism.” She expressed interest in HHS being part of a broader county and regional tourism consortium.
Stoermer, who holds a doctorate in history from the University of Virginia and has been published, said he was committed to continuing to use his knowledge and his experience in professionalizing and enhancing the guest experience at Hudson Valley tourism venues.
Rebecca Mackey, who remains director of operations, is assisting in the transition. A long-time New Paltz resident, she is responsible for operational matters, including maintenance, finance and budgeting and contracts. She said HHS staff presently numbered about 30, of whom 15 to 20 were year-round.
Schneider said a $1.5 million bequest HHS received last year would continue to be “invested in growth.”