Ten Minutes with Leslie Nolan
Historical Society executive director
Photo by Karen Morneau
Leslie Nolan has been in the museum world since finishing her graduate studies at Columbia University, first as curator of prints and photographs with the Museum of the City of New York, next as the executive director at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking, and now as the executive director of the Wilton Historical Society. Nolan and her husband, Doug, have two children, Margaret and Graham, both college students.
What’s your favorite exhibit?
I like smaller exhibits at local museums, but most recently I was at MoMA and saw the Degas show which was memorable. I gravitate to folk art and hand-made functional work. Beautifully balanced hand crafted ceramic teapots give me enormous pleasure.
What’s your favorite Wilton haunt?
Our nature trails are great for walking. Also the Tusk & Cup—the coffee is great.
What are your goals for the Wilton Historical Society?
To showcase the Society’s compelling collections in a way that tells Wilton’s stories, and to help people make connections between objects and what they represent—to make history matter.
Why is reflecting on our town’s history so important?
Eudora Welty put it beautifully, “One place understood helps us understand all places better.”
What are your hobbies?
I’m a puzzle girl. I enjoy jigsaw puzzles as well as the New York Times crossword. I recently became acquainted with the New York Times Spelling Bee, which has become a regular Sunday thing in our family. I also like to study maps and geography. We have a big map of the world in our kitchen.
What’s the biggest risk you ever took?
Whitewater rafting on the Rogue River in Oregon.
If there were a 25th hour in the day I would … Learn fluent Italian!
What do you like most about Wilton?
The stone walls, 18th-century houses and barns, and of course, the Historical Society. And let’s not leave out the Wilton Library—one of the best in Connecticut. The people of Wilton are great too! I’m thankful for the friendships I’ve made here.
What is your most memorable detour?
I recently spent the night in an ice-fishing hut on Lake Temagami in northeastern Canada, when no other rooms were available.
What food do you like the most?
Late summer Jersey tomatoes.
What are you never without?
Reading material, a pen.
When was the last time you were star struck?
I’m not usually star-struck. That said, I’m in awe of many renowned writers, and would most likely be tongue-tied at being introduced.
What is your personal philosophy?
In Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, Miss Rumphius resolves to make the world a more beautiful place. She leaves a lasting legacy tossing her lupine seeds over the Maine countryside. I like to believe we are all doing the best we can each day.