On Sept. 19, 2016, Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs employees and volunteers gathered at the Laurel, Del. Fire Hall for an all-staff meeting to review recent successes and examine future plans.
Division director Tim Slavin kicked off the program by welcoming the following staff members who have joined the division over the past six months: Kara Briggs, Kaitlyn Dykes, Kelly Ewing, Andrew Lyter, Steven Mumford and John Witzman; plus Nate Betts who is providing contractual services for the division’s State Historic Preservation Office. This was followed by the announcement of a perfect-attendance award for Dan Davis and the presentation of staff service-awards to Ann Baker Horsey for 40 years of service, Jan Rettig for 25 years, and Vertie Lee and Edward McWilliams for 20 years.
Division staff members then came to the podium to honor their colleagues by presenting Extra Mile Awards to Kaitlyn Dykes, Beth Gott and Tom Pulmano of the Zwaanendael Museum staff who helped a visitor recover her handbag which had been left at the site—and Jennifer Bowman; Barbara Carrow; Chis Conley; Jennifer Dunham; Melissa Fitzgerald; Beth Gott; Carla, Maya and Zaria Griffith; Chris Hall; Vertie Lee; Chris Merrill; Sharyn Murray; Tom Pulmano; James Scott; Charolenne, Richard and Ricky Shehorn; Nena Todd; Bridget Wallace and Yvonne Henry-Whaley who helped to make the John Dickinson Plantation/St. Jones Reserve’s “Make a Splash!” festival a resounding success.
Slavin then returned to share the news that members of the division family would soon be honored with two important state-level awards: Greg Buchman, Chris Conley, Scott Hayes and James Scott of the Preservation-Maintenance Team will receive the Department of State’s Employee of the Second Quarter for the emergency aid that they provided to a fellow employee who had collapsed at a job site; and Dr. Carolyn Apple who will receive a 2016 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award for her work in helping to obtain the William D. Willis World War II Photographic Collection for the state’s collections, and for her tireless efforts in researching, documenting and curating photos; writing display text; and assisting in the installation of exhibits and displays that showcase photos from the collection.
In addition to highlighting the work of the division’s staff and volunteers, the event included progress reports on the division’s priority activities including, among many others, strategic planning, progress on obtaining accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, collections inventory and a variety of historic-preservation initiatives. Staff members also added variety to the meeting by presenting four short vignettes on various aspects of Delaware history.
Before concluding the day’s activities, attendees received training in the proper use of fire extinguishers, and participated in a team-building exercise that provided valuable lessons in collaboration, innovation and creativity. As part of the exercise, participants were divided into several small groups and asked to build free-standing structures out of a pack of playing cards.