PLATTSBURGH — The new director/curator for the Clinton County Historical Association will bring a fondness for education and an appreciation of the past to her new post.
Melissa Peck, who graduated from Plattsburgh State with a degree in anthropology and has also had experience at the Clinton County Museum as an intern and regular volunteer, replaces Tricia Davies at the helm of the county’s historical collection.
“I have always had a great passion for history and for the communities that are native to this county,” Peck said of her lifelong interest in studying humankind’s past. “I have always been fascinated by the rich cultural heritage of Clinton County.
“I am proud to be a part of the historical museum (chronicling that heritage), as it is a very valuable asset to the community.”
Peck was actively involved in developing the current exhibit dedicated to the history of Native Americans in this region.
“It is so important that we know the past,” she said. “I’ve always had a fascination with the evolution of technology through time and what that says about human lifestyles.
“The objects people leave behind tell a story; they are the windows into the past.”
The artifacts left by past cultures provide an image of their values and their traditions, she added.
Peck graduated from Saranac High School, where she was especially interested in history classes.
“I chose anthropology as a major because it seemed to encompass human history as well as language, behavior and human understanding from various cultures,” she said.
Davies, who became director of the museum in April 2011 but is moving back to her native Pennsylvania with her family, focused a lot of her efforts on educating the public of the importance of knowing the past. Peck said she will continue that effort through continuing educational programs and community outreach.
She will also emphasize fundraising efforts by the museum and will work on ongoing efforts to strengthen partnerships with other community organizations, including county and town historian offices.
“We are having the Peru historians (Ron and Carol Allen) put up an exhibit as part of our changing exhibition space in the basement,” she said. “I’d like to continue using that space as an opportunity for town historians to display information on the history of their towns.”
A large percentage of the county’s historical artifacts never make it to the museum’s display area. Peck said a top priority she has going into the job is to keep that collection safe for the community and for generations to come.
Peck has worked over the past several months as assistant to the collections specialist at the Plattsburgh State Art Museum and will continue with that position as she transitions into her new seat with the County Museum.
Email Jeff Meyers: email@example.com