Historic New England Stands in Solidarity

June 3, 2020

Dear Members of the Historic New England Family:

I am deeply honored to join Historic New England this week as President and CEO, and I look forward to sharing our extraordinary work, places, and programs with you in the weeks and months ahead, both in person and online. In the coming weeks, as the inspiring grounds and landscapes of many of our properties are able to re-open, I hope you’ll join me outdoors for a walk or a tour. Very soon, we’ll be able to provide specific information about site openings, and some of the wonderful experiences we can share. Always, it is our life’s work to welcome you to the rich tapestry of Historic New England. At this time of difficulty in our nation, the healing properties of nature and community help carry us through.

I join Historic New England at one of the most challenging times most of us have ever experienced.

The disruption and upending of normalcy brought about by COVID-19 has affected everyone, and has inflicted hardship on so many, especially those enduring health crises in their families, financial distress, and threats to well-being. Millions are suffering. At Historic New England, we are humbled by the good work of talented volunteers and staff and a committed membership, advancing the organization over decades and providing the resilience our organization needs today.

We are also profoundly affected by the outrage and pain of the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, following the tragic deaths of too many other African Americans in our country because of a broken culture and system. The deep fissures in our society brought about by systemic inequities and failures have been further exposed by the events of the last week. Historic New England stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and united with our sister organizations across New England and the country demanding justice, change, and peace. We condemn racism -- and we have an unyielding commitment to stamping it out of our society.

As a civic institution, we know that words alone are not enough in how we respond to the profound events tearing at the fabric of our communities. At Historic New England, we save and share New England’s past to engage and inform present and future generations. This is our mission. The history of our region shines with extraordinary civic, cultural, medical, and industrial innovation and accomplishment, but is also one disrupted and even devastated by entrenched inequity, unchecked diseases which ravaged our communities, and at times economic collapse. As preservationists, we strive for all of our work to be grounded in authenticity and truth. We have to call it as we know it to be true. In the coming months, we look forward to sharing more ideas with you about the telling of the stories of past and present New England -- and we encourage you to pass along your ideas and suggestions, especially while we contemplate and document our lives and communities during these unprecedented times.

Thank you for your involvement in Historic New England and the great value you place on our purpose, the places we share, and the vital and meaningful work we do across our museums, farms, and landscapes, and for families and children, and our communities. On a personal note, I’m enormously proud to be with you.

With gratitude,

Vin Cipolla
President and CEO
Historic New England