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Historical Society begins search for new executive director [Old Town Laurel]

Ten years ago, Lindsey Baker was a graduate student completing a master’s degree at the University of Delaware and wanted to work at a small museum somewhere in the Baltimore-Washington region.

She saw a job posting for executive director of the Laurel Historical Society, which seemed like the perfect fit, so she applied. Baker was hired, started in June 2008 and just completed a nearly decade-long tenure running the day-to-day operations of a group dedicated to preserving Laurel’s history. She began a new job as executive director of the Patapsco Heritage Greenway on Jan. 15.

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“It was great working with a wonderful group of volunteers and a very supportive, very active board,” Baker said, of her time at the LHS. “The ability to be creative and have different jobs every day is what sticks with me most.”

LHS Board Chair Jhanna Levin said the organization “grew up” along with Baker, who started right out of graduate school, moved to Laurel and then married and had a baby while serving as executive director.

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“It’s sort of like when you send your kid off to college and you don’t want them to go at all,” Levin said, of Baker’s departure.

Levin credited Baker with expanding the society’s community partnerships and praised her for taking on many of the responsibilities that previously fell to the late Board Chairman Jim McCeney, who died in 2016.

The Laurel Museum’s 2018 exhibit, “We the People: How Civic Engagement Has Shaped Laurel,” will have its grand opening this Sunday, Feb. 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. at 817 Main St. It is one project of which Baker is particularly proud.

The exhibit is a response to the “national conversation about civic engagement and how that plays out locally,” Baker said. “This was one of our opportunities to be really responsive to what’s happening around us and put that in context.”

Baker said her new position at the Patapsco Heritage Greenway was a good fit because she wanted her job to have more of an environmental focus and she wanted to work with an organization that collaborated with other groups to build capacity.

“We know we can’t replace Lindsey,” Levin said, but the search is on for a new executive director of the LHS. The board is looking for someone who would help the group with strategic planning and development, as well as creative facility management.

“We’re looking for someone to move us to the next chapter,” Levin said, then added of Baker: “She was invaluable.”

It may be cold outside, but thoughts of spring are not too far off now that registration is beginning for the 2018 growing season at theLaurel Community Garden. The garden at Laurel Presbyterian Church, 7610 Sandy Spring Road, began in 2013.

Returning members can register through Feb. 2. Laurel residents and Laurel Presbyterian members can register Feb. 5 through. 9. Open registration begins Feb. 13. The cost of plots is $100 for new members and between $35 and $65 for returning members, depending on the plot size. There is also a free healing garden plot for use by those with cancer. Registration is available through the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, 301-725-7800.

A “Get Ready, Set, Grow” free training for new gardeners will be held on Saturday, March 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Laurel Municipal Pool conference room, at the corner of Main and Ninth streets.

The garden will also offer a “Seed and Sip” gathering on Thursday, March 22, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Chido’s Tex-Mex Grill, 14600 Laurel Place. Enjoy appetizers and a drink while you start your seedlings for the year. Seeds and gardening mix will be provided. For more information, e-mail Laurel.Community.Garden@gmail.com.

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