The Connecticut Historical Society elects new trustees

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Chester Paul Beach, Jr.

The Connecticut Historical Society (CHS) membership has elected two new members and re-elected an incumbent to its Board of Trustees. Portia Corbett of Farmington, (re-elected), Chester Paul Beach, Jr. of Granby, and Sara Champion of Ridgefield, were all elected to a three-year term expiring at the 2022 Annual Meeting. As members of the board, they will help the CHS fulfill its mission to “connect you and the story of Connecticut” through exhibits, special events, guest speakers and research opportunities. Their three-year-term appointments were made during the CHS’s 194th annual meeting on May 20.

The membership also elected officers for 2019-2020. They are Barbara Kiefer, President (West Hartford); Fiona Vernal, First Vice President (Manchester); Henry M. Zachs, Second Vice President (Hartford); Lawrence V. Mowell, Third Vice President (Pebble Beach, CA); Stephen L. Nightingale, Secretary (West Hartford); William Weissenburger, Treasurer (Bloomfield); and Bichop J. Nawrot, Immediate Past President (Bloomfield).

The 194th Annual Meeting was also when the Connecticut Historical Society’s new CEO, Robert Kret, was introduced to the membership. The former director of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Kret took the helm of the CHS on May 13. Kret began his career in museum administration at the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, Boston, Massachusetts. He later served as director of the Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson, Michigan, the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, and the Miami University Art Museum in Oxford, Ohio. Prior to joining the O’Keeffe Museum, Kret was director of the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, Tennessee for a decade. He earned a Master of Arts degree in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program of the State University of New York at Oneonta, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, with a Political Science minor, from the University of Detroit in Michigan.

The Connecticut Historical Society ( is a private, independent, not-for-profit educational organization that includes a museum, library and the Edgar F. Waterman Research Center. Founded in 1825, the CHS is the state’s official historical society and one of the oldest in the nation. The CHS has collected more than four million manuscripts, graphics, books, artifacts and other historical materials related to Connecticut’s social, cultural, and family history which are available to the public on-site at One Elizabeth Street in Hartford, off-site at other locations, and online at The CHS is one of more than 200 Smithsonian Affiliates across the country.