With a new slate of officers, the Deerfield Historical Society has stepped back from the brink.
About 30 people gathered Dec. 2 at the Deerfield Community Center for a meeting at which the main focus was elections.
It followed two months in which remaining members of the current longtime board sought replacements,with no certainty anyone would step up.
Two board members, Dorothy Loftus and Dick Berge, passed away this year, leaving the offices of president and treasurer vacant and raising the potential for the society to dissolve.
The current vice president, Sandy Gilbertson, said she’d be willing to continue for another year. But secretary Beverly Dahl had said she’s ready to retire after nearly four decades in that position.
“Thirty-six years, I think, is a long enough stretch,” Dahl said at the Dec. 2 meeting.
New officers include President Rick Matheson, Gilbertson continuing on as vice president, Secretary Rhonda Perry, Treasurer Sue Neath and at-large board members Melanie Loftus, Dennis Haberkorn and Amanda Winge. Applause followed the conclusion of voting. It remains to be worked out how long of terms the new officers will serve.
“I’ll take a 37-year term... yeah,” Perry joked.
Gilbertson also reported that she was encouraged after attending a Deerfield Village Board meeting on Nov. 25, to hear the village is open to having space for the society’s museum at a new Village Hall. The Village Board is currently discussing whether to move villages offices to a new space, either newly built or a remodeled existing site.
The museum is currently on the second floor of the Village Hall, 4 N. Main St.
“They seem open to have us involved in the new Village Hall,” Gilbertson said, adding that “we need to go to village meetings and be a little more involved (in the conversation).”
Gilbertson said she would like see the museum have a dedicated room at the new Village Hall, not just a small display area tentatively being eyed, where museum items can be rotated. “It would be nice to have more room than that,” Gilbertson said.
Gilbertson also said a recent push to add new society members has resulted in a “fair amount” of new faces. “That’s very good,” she said.
Issues that the new leadership pledged to address include the schedule of when the museum is open to the public.
And society members were receptive to an offer by local resident Rich Matheson, to refocus his “Deerfield in the Rearview,” Facebook page to be the society’s official social media site. The site has showcased historic photos and stories of old Deerfield.