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Essex Heritage Announces New Leadership and Special Awards
Historic Preservation Blog from -
Contributed By: Essex Heritage
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May 11, 2023 – The Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage), a non-profit that manages and provides numerous programs preserving and enhancing Essex County’s historic, natural and cultural places, welcomed business and community leaders from around Essex County to its Annual Spring Meeting on Thursday, April 27 at Amesbury Carriage Museum. The business portion of the session focused on Remarks were heard from Amesbury Mayor Kassandra Gove and Amesbury Carriage Museum Executive Director Kelly Daniell. The Commission also announced its newly elected Commissioners, 2023 Partnership Grant recipients, and presented its 2023 Essex Heritage Special Recognition Awards.

New Commissioners Elected
Essex Heritage is governed by a 25-member Board of Trustees and supported by over 100 Commissioners who live and/or work within Essex County. These Essex Heritage Commissioners serve as representatives of community organizations, educational institutions, and historic, cultural, and natural resources of the region. “Our local Commissioners serve an important role as ambassadors and advocates for this region,” said CEO, Annie C. Harris. “Essex Heritage is pleased to welcome the new Commissioners, and we’re grateful for their support as partners in promoting the unique assets of Essex County.” 

The following individuals were elected to serve the Essex National Heritage Commission:

New Commissioners, 2023-2026
- Alison Colby-Campbell – Campbell Photography
- Thomas Green – Member of the Massachusett Tribe
- Yinette Guzman – Design & Place Making Project Manager of North Shore Community Development Coalition
- Dan Lipcan – Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library at Peabody Essex Museum
- Francisco Ureña – Manager of Lawrence Municipal Airport and founder of Semper Drone Photography
- Peter Van Demark – Artists for the Great Marsh

Special Recognition Awards
As leaders of heritage organizations and supporters of the Essex National Heritage Area, Essex Heritage honors those who have made a professional or personal commitment to the heritage work in this region and thanks them for their service. 

The following individuals were identified as 2023 Special Recognition Award Recipients:

Erik Ronnberg, Jr. for his significant contributions to preserving and enhancing the maritime history of Cape Ann and beyond – Erik Ronnberg Jr., retired Maritime Curator of the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, Massachusetts is one of the most highly regarded model makers in the country. Erik worked at the industrial model making firm Atkins & Merrill in Sudbury, apprenticed at the Newark Museum, and was Assistant Curator at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, while also making models from his studio for private and institutional clients. In 2014, Erik joined the Cape Ann Museum as Maritime Curator, where he has carried out extensive research about the Museum’s fishing and maritime industry collections. During his tenure with the Cape Ann Museum, Erik was an instrumental contributor to the Museum’s Fitz Henry Lane Catalogue Raisionne Online. Erik’s expertise and deep insights into the fisheries history of Cape Ann have led to re-envisioned fisheries galleries displays, including the new succinct presentations of Mackerel for America; Ships Models and most recently Inshore Fisheries.  Today, Erik’s models are in many private collections and museums including the Smithsonian Institution, MIT Museum, Mystic Seaport Museum, New Bedford Whaling Museum, and the Cape Ann Museum.

Jerry Klima and the Coastal Trails Coalition for significant efforts connecting the communities of the Essex National Heritage Area – Jerry Klima, director and treasurer of the of the Coastal Trails Coalition (CTC), has been working for 20 years to help build the 30-mile Coastal Trails Network, which is a public multi-use trail connecting the communities of Amesbury, Newbury, Newburyport, and Salisbury in the Essex National Heritage Area. Jerry is a former member of the Salisbury Board of Selectmen and remains very active in Salisbury and its surrounding communities. He has been integral to the progress made by the CTC in advancing this impressive trail network that provides safe off-road travel through the lower Merrimack Valley and access to the region’s natural beauty and historic resources.

About Essex Heritage and the Essex National Heritage Area
Essex Heritage is the non-profit management entity for Essex National Heritage Area, one of fifty-five heritage partnership parks of the National Park Service. Essex Heritage promotes public/private partnerships and develops and implements programs that enhance, preserve and encourage regional awareness of the unique historic, cultural, and natural resources found within the Area. For more information, visit or call (978) 740-0444.   

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Posted: May 11, 2023
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