Carroll County Times

History Project: Pierce reflects on career, path to Historical Society

Timmi Pierce, executive director of the Historical Society of Carroll County, was born in Hartford, Conn., and says she was, and still is, a born explorer. Her life and career has certainly covered some interesting ground.

As a child, Pierce moved from Wethersfield, Conn., to Des Moines. Eventually she said, "I returned to Yankee land where I lived with my grandparents, three cousins, an aunt and uncle and assorted cats."

Pierce attended college at Mary Washington in Virginia, spending the summers working in theater. After college, Pierce relocated to Washington.

"I ended up at WTOP radio, the CBS owned station in Washington for two years," she said. "And at the very young age of 24 was interviewed by WRC the NBC station in Washington and became the manager of advertising and promotion."

In 1971 while at NBC, Pierce co-authored a class action suit against NBC in Washington for discrimination against women. Her experience with that class action suit ultimately led NBC personnel to appoint her as the director of affirmative action programs in New York.

"I really helped make a difference in the hiring of women and minorities in high paying positions ... it made me happy because I had always been a battler for animal rights and human rights, so that was fulfilling," she said.

After leaving NBC, Pierce went on to spend three years as director of communications for Planned Parenthood, and then opened her own advertising and marketing company.

Pierce eventually left the entrepreneurial world and took a job with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services as director of communications in New York City.

"Shortly after I was there we moved the agency to Baltimore, which is ultimately how I got to Carroll County," she explained. "And the first time I drove over Route 140, coming down into Carroll County to look at the property that actually I now own, I thought wow; I have died and gone to heaven."

Pierce moved to Carroll County in 1999, and now lives on an 18 acre farm in Finksburg.

"I came to the Historical Society in 2006 and candidly I loved it," Pierce said. "I thought, wow this is a great opportunity. But looking at some of the financials and such I thought, well this ought to be good for six months," she laughed, "and it's been 7½ years."

"The Historical Foundation was founded in 1939," Pierce explained. "There was an icon here in the county by the name of Mary Shellman, who started, by the way, the first Memorial Day parade. Her house was right there on East Main Street."

The Shellman house changed hands several times over the years and eventually there were plans to tear the building down, but as Pierce explained, "a group of concerned citizens set about saving the building and they collected the thirty thousand dollars needed to take ownership. The Shellman house now is a house museum and thanks to donors, many children have toured the house museum and learned about the value of history."

When asked what her major accomplishments have been over the past seven years, Pierce said, "I think being able to get the support for the renovation of Cockey's. The society had bought it in the year 2000 after there had been a fire." It lay fallow for many years but with financial support from the state and the county, renovations were made and "now that building is absolutely gorgeous."

Pierce said she has been most enriched by the volunteer support that she's seen at the Historical Society.

"People may not know it, but we actually have only 2½ staff members, beside the executive director, and we handle an awful lot in the way of events and research library and so on, and if we did not have this core of very dedicated volunteers that work on all kinds of things, we would not exist."

Timmi Pierce retires as Executive Director of the Historical Society the end of May, and when asked what she will miss most she said, "The camaraderie, the people and the stories. " But she adds, "I plan to still volunteer for special events," and for that, all of us are truly grateful.

So Timmi, thank you for helping to share and preserve Carroll County's rich history. Best wishes on your next adventure.