Taking reins of local history

Communications expert, horse farmer named new director of historical society

December 04, 2005|By MARY GAIL HARE | MARY GAIL HARE,SUN REPORTER

The Historical Society of Carroll County has chosen for its new executive director a woman who board members say has an impressive resume with experience in marketing, communications and advertising.

Timatha S. "Timmi" Pierce, who runs a horse farm in Finksburg, will assume leadership of the 66-year-old society tomorrow.

"I am looking forward with great anticipation to the job," Pierce said. "At 65, I am almost as old as the society, but I promise to bring a lot of oomph to it."

Her priorities will center on development, communication and preservation of the society's buildings, a cluster of historically significant structures in downtown Westminster. The society includes about 850 households, which each pay an annual membership of $60.

"We are really excited about Timmi Pierce," said Robert Harrison, who has served as interim director since July and will continue on the society's board of trustees. "She brings a lot of energy to the job and development is definitely her expertise. She will continue in the direction we started."

One of her first decisions will be what to do with the former Cockey's Tavern, the building that adjoins the society's headquarters. Members are spending about $40,000 to restore the building's facade, but more costly repairs are needed.

"I would like the society to keep Cockey's Tavern," Pierce said. "But that is one of the challenges I face. We will have to see what is best."

The tavern is one of the earliest in Westminster. The site was at one time the seat of Carroll County government.

"It is an important part of history that adds to the concept of historic campus," Harrison said. "But we have three historic structures with maintenance issues."

The society also owns Kimmey House, where it maintains its offices and library, and the Shellman House, where it recently opened the exhibit Cherished Possessions, featuring furniture, photographs and other artifacts from the society's collection.

In a news release issued Friday, Michele Crew, chairwoman of the board of trustees, said Pierce "has the exact qualities we need at this pivotal time in our own society's history, an impressive history of leadership in marketing, communication and development."

Pierce hopes to "cultivate more donors," schedule fundraisers and "shepherd our resources in meaningful ways."

Harrison, who has promised to assist Pierce as long as his help is needed, organized an antiques appraisal in September that raised $9,000.

"With this job, I can bring into play all my past experiences," she said.

After graduating from Mary Washington College, Pierce began a 20-year career in radio, serving as manager of advertising and promotion for the NBC affiliate in Washington and later for NBC Radio Network in New York.

After honing her talents in the communications field, she eventually operated her own public relations company.

She moved to the Carroll County area in 1999 for a job with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and was recently an associate in marketing for Carroll Lutheran Village.

"When I looked around Maryland and saw Carroll County, I said, `This is it!'" she said. "I love the area. It reminds me so much of New England."

She established Revels Run Farm, an 18-acre property where she raises Morgan horses. And soon after, she joined the society to indulge her lifelong interest in history. The historical bent also led her to Morgan horses.

"Morgans are America's first and continuous operating breed," she said. "They have played an incredible role in history. A Morgan was the only survivor of Custer's Last Stand."

mary.gail.hare@baltsun.com

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