DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

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August 18, 2010

Derry resident is new museum curator

DERRY — She's history.

And it's Karen Blandford-Anderson's job as curator of the local history museum to keep it that way.

The Derry woman and Heritage Commission member was named the Derry History Museum curator following the departure of longtime historian and museum curator Richard Holmes earlier this year. She now cares for the town's artifacts and collections in the Adams Memorial Building.

Keeping the town's history on display for everyone to enjoy and appreciate is the main focus of the job.

"We want the people of Derry to realize we have a real, rich history," Blandford-Anderson said. "There's a lot going on here."

The intimate, lower level museum is full of Derry's heritage, from special exhibits on veterans, war heroes and the dairy industry, to shoe manufacturers, local business, poet and onetime Derry resident Robert Frost, and famed astronaut and Derry native Alan B. Shepard. The first American in space, in fact, has his own room at the museum. From old printing presses of a local newspaper, right down to information about the first potato grown in the region, it's a mecca of information and historical finds from one corner to the next.

Blandford-Anderson said she stepped into big shoes following Holmes' tenure, but wants to keep the museum going as a place to visit for information and education.

"I didn't think we could continue without (Rick Holmes), this is his baby," she said. "But he hasn't disappeared."

In fact, she said she chats with Holmes on a regular basis to keep the town's history momentum moving forward.

She will continue doing inventory of artifacts and keeping a photo log of what's inside the museum.

A new exhibit taking shape will feature donated puppets and items from the family of famed puppeteer and Derry resident Nikki Tilroe.

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