Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) has hired a new executive director, Liselle LaFrance, an award-winning museum professional who 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 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, 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 eleven historic entities developing a city-wide interpretive plan.
“I am honored to join the professional team at HHS,” said 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.”