Getting to Know ZPM Board Member, Karen Deeter

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How long have you served as a Board Member for the Zadock Pratt Museum (ZPM)?

I believe this is my 7th year on the Board of the Pratt Museum.

What initially motivated you to become part of the board?

For several years prior I had worked with director, Carolyn Bennett, on a project she had introduced me to when I had become the historian in the town of Lexington – the life and works of Levi Hill, a Daguerreotypist that lived and worked in Lexington and Prattsville in the mid 1800’s. In getting to know Levi Hill, I also became acquainted with Zadock Pratt. So when Carolyn invited me to take a position on the board I really could not turn that down.

 What are some of the highlights of serving as Board Member of the ZPM?

Since the flood the museum’s fund raising projects have taken on new meaning. Actually, I had heard Carolyn say, even before the flood, when the board was working on expanding the mission and scope of service, that we needed to consider holding a larger fundraiser along with all the usual fund raising events. That became critical after the flood, so last year I decided to test the waters to see if we, indeed, could hold a benefit dinner fundraiser that could be an annual increase of income. I had a great committee and we did succeed in meeting the financial goal we had set. This event had presented a perfect opportunity to highlight the goals and the intentions of both the museum and the Board of Directors – that of conscious collaboration throughout the county and beyond, in the continuous unfolding of the rich history of this area.

Last year we chose to honor Carolyn, her efforts, achievements, and goals, as a theme for our fundraiser. And since it’s all about “connecting” we chose two other Greene County individuals who also exemplified that goal, Deb Allen and David Dorpfeld. They were perfect first honorees. They were both very helpful in making it a success. Now we are grateful to have the opportunity to honor others at our 2nd Annual Honoree Benefit on Saturday, October 17th, in “The Club” at Windham Mountain. Our honorees are Ray and Claudia Bracaliello, Bob and Ann Hallock, Cyndi LaPierre, Charles Schaefer, and Robert and Johanna Titus. These honorees cover the whole county. This is our way of honoring a term that David Dorpfeld used when he became the Greene County Historian and began his many trips to the mountaintop to let us know his own intentions of getting us all connected. Dave is on the board of the Greene County Historical Society and he proposed that if the Greene County Historical Society, in Coxsackie at one end of the county, and the Pratt Museum in Prattsville, at the other end of the county, stay in connection, we, like bookends, promote connection and collaboration with everything in between.

 Tell me something that most people might not know about the ZPM?

We were beginning to see the results of our efforts for expansion when Irene came to visit and left us with the understanding that before we got back to those glorious plans we would have to get past the damages of Irene.

Can you tell us a little about the ZPM benefit coming up on October 17th?

In this Honoree Benefit and in the expansion of the work and mission of the Pratt Museum we are wanting to let people know more about Zadock Pratt and his role in the history of this country and this part of New York State in the days of Pratt and Hill and Cole and Durand and on and on. Pratt, himself was always reaching out, collaborating, and leaving his mark in many parts of the county, the state, the nation and beyond. So our theme “Keeping the connections Alive,” is faithful to the very roots of the site in Prattsville which is the Pratt Museum.

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