Shaping the Reher Center

With our first season of public programming behind us and ambitious plans underway for 2020, it’s high time to reflect on the work we’ve done at the Reher Center so far and to share our progress as we move forward.

At Reher’s Bakery, Elsie and Gertie were responsible for shaping the dough, but we all are a part of shaping the Reher Center.  Take five minutes to fill out the 2019 Visitor Survey and share how you might like to  contribute and what you’d like to see from us in the coming year.  You can reach me anytime with feedback, thoughts and questions at

As  you may know, I spent the first half of 2019 holed up in a library in New York City finishing my doctoral dissertation, and only began my tenure as Director full-time this past July. So though I have been the most visible public face and name of this institution, I want to introduce you to a few of the people whose work was vital to this year’s growth and success.

Babs Mansfield, a consultant who has been working with the Reher Center since July 2018, is behind-the-scenes making so much happen. Among many other things, she has spearheaded our path toward incorporation as our own non-profit, designed and executed our fundraising campaigns and events, and is heading up the culinary aspects of Reher Center programming, including our blossoming relationship with the Culinary Institute of America and the BOCES Culinary program.

Barbara Blas stepped up as our Board Chair this year, filling the huge shoes of her dear friend and Reher Center Founder Geoff Miller, who had chaired the project for over 15 years. Barb’s combination of passion and calm reassurance–including her remarkable skills as a mediator–brought us gracefully through a year of tremendous growth and change.

Co-curators Dr. Elinor Levy and Susie Ximenez envisioned, planned, and executed The Spaces Between, a brilliant series of exhibitions and public programs that brought the Reher Center Gallery to life this season. Their creativity, smart work, and the new stories and connections they brought us through these programs put us “on the map” as a place for meaningful learning and connections in Kingston. It also transformed our understanding of the value and potential of partnerships. (We will co-present on this topic of partnerships at the upcoming Museum Association of New York Conference this March.)

Dr. Cindy Falk of the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum Studies shared her skills and those of her students with the Reher Center for a third semester this Fall. Previously, students helped envision our Retail Shop windows and researched the packaged goods the Rehers sold. This semester, students prepared and presented an institutional Accessibility Review. Though we have a long way to go before we are physically accessible, their suggestions have helped us to begin. For example, we are adding alt-tags to make images on our website “legible” to screen readers used by people who are visually impaired.

So many others have contributed their talents to realizing our mission: from repairing our building, to advising on educational programs, to researching or sharing personal immigrant stories, and so much more.

Thank you for making 2019 a year to remember!