Eighteen years into its existence, it came time for the Norwich Historical Society to name its first executive director. Deciding to make the move was the hard part. Knowing who to hire was easy.
Regan Miner, the society’s paid consultant, was named executive director Monday at the group’s annual meeting.
“She was the obvious choice,” society President Bill Champagne said. “She is doing so many good things to bring out the history of Norwich and she is doing it better than anybody else could.”
Miner’s paid position is part-time after serving as a consultant since 2014.
“I feel very honored to be able to share Norwich’s stories with its residents and also its visitors,” she said.
The Norwich native, 27, has been a positive and productive force for the city’s history and the society’s projects.
She helped coordinate major projects such as the restoration of the 1783 Dr. Daniel Lathrop Schoolhouse, now home to the Norwich Heritage & Regional Visitors’ Center. She also guided the completion of the “Discover Norwich” exhibit and created the four Walk Norwich self-guided trails.
Champagne said the four walks have been the priority – and Miner said those were her favorite projects. But with those near completion, other projects arise.
“The main goal is launching an initiative we are calling Experience Historic Norwich, although that name may change,” Miner said. “We are marketing our current historic assets, like the Leffingwell House Museum and Slater Museum – things that are already visitor-ready. We also want to enhance things that are not visitor-ready.”
Both Miner and Champagne said there are structures in Norwichtown that have potential for revitalization and historic value for visitors. Uncas Leap also has the potential to be a tremendous tourist site; Miner is part of a steering committee that includes the city, the Mohegan tribe and a resident working toward the completion of that project.
Champagne said the owners of the Ponemah Mill apartment complex asked the historical society to do an exhibit/museum at their property. He said with Miner in her new role, he hopes that can happen.
Miner’s other role includes serving as associate director of the New London County Historical Society. Miner volunteers for the Society of the Founders of Norwich and serves as the vice chairman of the Norwich Historic District Commission.
She credits her parents, Ron and Polly Miner, for getting her interested in history. She said her mother would take Regan and her sister through the Colonial Burial Ground and the Leffingwell House – and “My mother spent one summer digging a hole for us to use to pretend we were archaeologists.”
Miner, a 2010 Norwich Free Academy graduate, is a UConn graduate with a bachelor’s degree in History and holds a master’s degree in Public History from Central Connecticut State University.