Remote Army of Volunteers

In recent years, a small army of skilled volunteers has been working on a variety of jobs at the museum, including building exhibits and presenting events.

With our doors currently closed, that army has been dispersed but it is still very active. The volunteers have been working at home to keep the museum in operation. For instance:

  • Susan Valenstein, Board member, and Collections Committee Chair, and Charles McCarthy have been working on a major exhibit to explore the history of commercial fishing in Point Judith. Susan Valenstein is also working actively on grant writing.
  • Printers Ed Shunney and Dave Maseglia continue to maintain the extensive Print Shop collection.
  • The Canonchet Gazette newsletter designer and photographer Jim Transue continues to publish the quarterly publication. Linda Pouliot is spearheading the newsletter and membership mailings.
  • Well-known photojournalist and documentary-maker Mark Starr published the museum’s first video on the blacksmithing trade. Now school students learning at home and unable to visit in person for their scheduled field trips due to COVID can still “join us” online.
  • Raymond Merz completed maintenance and painting projects at the Visitor’s Center.
  • Laurie Holland Morris, Janet Malenfant, and Chris Westcott continue to offer countless hours each month maintaining active community groups through Facebook. Consider joining one of the museum’s private groups for more information on Narragansett/South Kingstown memories and Point Judith commercial fishing.
  • Our education advisor Sharon Webster, a retired Narragansett K-12 school teacher, is with RILINK, providing books for Rhode island’s public schools.

The campus is not entirely empty. Executive Director (and resident blacksmith) Jim Crothers and Assistant Director Heather Kisilywicz are putting in more or less regular office hours, and irreplaceable resident caretaker Jeff Swanson cares for the Living Farm animals and keeps the museum grounds always looking good.


Josh Edenbaum, Museum Board Member, Steps Up to COVID-19

Professional photographer and active South County Museum board member, Josh Edenbaum continues to give back to Southern Rhode Island in many ways.

Josh joined the South County Museum board in 2019. He has generously offered the museum his photography expertise and talent, on top of his ongoing board responsibilities. When asked why Josh agreed to join the South County Museum on the mission to capture your stories that are our shared history, he says it was two things: a great community of people and the setting. The museum is “a little unique oasis of history tucked in a beautiful corner of Narragansett.”

Currently, he stands out for his work during COVID-19 for supporting local businesses through the Front Porch Portrait Project as a professional photographer. Read more about Josh’s “heartwarming and inspiring” Front Poarch Project work taking countless free photos while raising money for local businesses in the Providence Business News.

He is also a contributor to the new “COVID-19 in South County” collection at the museum, which is documenting Southern Rhode Island’s unique story through these unprecedented times. We hope you will share your stories, photos, videos, writing, and art. Please sign up for our newsletter to hear more about this project or contact Assistant Director, Heather Pouliot Kisilywicz at southcountymuseum@gmail.com.


New Assistant Director

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Heather Pouliot Kisilywicz as our new Assistant Director. Heather started in the fall as an intern researching the genealogy of South County’s first fishing families for our new exhibit “Commercial Fishing of Point Judith: Then and Now.” She holds a certificate in genealogy from Boston University, is an enthusiastic member of the Rhode Island Genealogical Society, and a frequent lecturer around the state on how to evaluate DNA test results for genealogical research.

She brings with her a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of Rhode Island and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Library and Information Sciences. Heather moved back home to Wakefield with her three sons, Jack, Thomas, and Ben, in 2017 after living in Princeton, New Jersey for the past 15 years. I hope you will join me in welcoming Heather to our team.