Karen Lund-Rooney has made the switch up the road from Oysterponds to Southold.
After months of conducting interviews, the Southold Historical Society appointed Ms. Lund-Rooney as its new director, starting last Monday.
“I’m feeling very grateful to be offered this position,” she said. “It gives me a chance to work in a small town and really, hopefully, make a difference. Southold has been very good to me.”
Ms. Lund-Rooney, a Southold resident, was the interim director at Oysterponds Historical Society prior to accepting the position at Southold. She was in the midst of obtaining a grant for Oysterponds Historical Society and waited until that was secured before starting her position at Southold.
Before that, she was an educator and school administrator at numerous schools on Long Island, including stints as headmaster of the Grace Day School in Massapequa and as assistant principal for the Garden City Public School District.
She recently retired from Stony Brook University, where she was a lecturer in the professional education program.
Ms. Lund-Rooney credits her background in education as fueling her desire to be a part of historical societies.
“I’ve always had an interest in history,” she said. “I was an English major in college [at SUNY/Oneonta] and I was an administrator in schools for 40 years. I love to see the connections between language arts and history.”
She said in the director position she “plans on doing a lot of listening to members to see what direction they’d like to go in,” and hopes to add programs that attract younger people.
“A historical society should serve the needs and curiosity of people of all ages,” Ms. Lund-Rooney said. “Sometimes we don’t do that. So in order for any organization to be vital it needs to engage a cross-section of people, ages and interests.”
This decision to hire Ms. Lund-Rooney comes after longtime director Geoffrey Fleming stepped down in May. The director since 2003, Mr. Fleming left to become the director of the Huntington Museum of Art in Huntington, W.V., earlier this year.
As director Ms. Lund-Rooney will oversee events, fundraising, exhibitions, professional and volunteer staff, preserve the society’s collections of historic artifacts and buildings, and be responsible for day-to-day activities of the historical society.
Her favorite part of the job, she said, will be working with the people of Southold.
“It’s such a diverse group of people with a lot of strong ideas and willingness to work and go forward,” Ms. Lund-Rooney said. “They’re really a good bunch.”
Photo Caption: Karen Lund-Rooney is Southold Historical Society’s new director. (Credit: Nicole Smith)