Nolan will leave historical society after ‘five fantastic years’

Leslie Nolan announced Sept. 1 that she will soon be leaving the Wilton Historical Society after “five fantastic years” of service to join the Peace Corps.

Nolan was hired as the Wilton Historical Society’s director in 2012 and named executive director in 2014.

In a press release announcing her departure, Nolan said it’s been “a great pleasure” to work at the historical society “under the leadership of Buck Griswold, and with “a dedicated board of trustees.”

Nolan told The Bulletin her last day as executive director will be Friday, Sept. 8, but she will work on a “part-time and as-need basis” the following week.

During her time at the Wilton Historical Society, Nolan said, “a number of goals” were accomplished, including “taking the lead on a new American Artisan Show, restoring and painting the museum’s historic buildings, implementing new branding and signage, and offering new hands-on programs and educational opportunities.”

One of the “highlights” of her work at the society, Nolan said, was “receiving a grant to design and implement a new website.”

She said she’s also “thrilled” that Connecticut’s History, Wilton’s Story — a Good to Great grant-supported exhibition — is “becoming a reality.”

With a new strategic plan, mission and vision, Nolan said, the Wilton Historical Society is “poised for continued growth,” and she wishes it “much success in its program offerings, preservation efforts and expanded membership.”

Peace Corps

Nolan said the Peace Corps is something she thought about “many years ago,” but “never followed up” with.

“I always wanted to do something bigger than myself —try to make a positive difference in the lives of others, and help communities reach their fullest potential,” she told The Bulletin.

Nolan said she will spend three months training in Kiev, Ukraine, after which she will be stationed in western Ukraine and serve as a community development volunteer.

“The Peace Corps has an essential role to play in supporting Ukraine’s transition to a Western-oriented, democratic state,” she said.

According to the Peace Corps website, community development volunteers work “primarily at non-governmental and charitable organizations, but also at local municipalities, libraries, museums in partnership with local government bodies, businesses and educational institutions.”

Nolan said she will miss “the many, many committed volunteers” and friends she's made at the historical society, as well as the artisans who participate in the society’s annual American Artisan Show.

“I love supporting these artists who put their heart and soul into making beautiful and functional work,” she said.

“Their fine work is always a pleasure to purchase, admire, and use at home.”

Nolan said she will also miss the historical society’s “train men” and “our fine blacksmith, Skip.”

As for her successor, Nolan said, the Wilton Historical Society’s executive committee has “identified interim director(s), and the announcement will be made shortly.”