During September 2015, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs welcomed three new members to its staff—Patricia Gerken, Laurie Turkawski and Nicole Worthley.
Patricia Gerken comes to the Buena Vista Conference Center after serving as a marketing and retail assistant for Delaware State Parks, as the events and retail coordinator for the Indian River Life Saving Station Museum and as the volunteer coordinator for the Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village. The Milford, Del. resident holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Delaware. As Buena Vista’s historic-site supervisor, she is involved in a myriad of tasks including maintaining customer relations, meeting with new clients, conducting tours of the property, scheduling events, processing reservation agreements and billing, delegating and monitoring staff duties, managing social-media initiatives and overseeing the maintenance and upkeep of the house and grounds.
Originally from Michigan, architectural historian Laurie Turkawski joined the staff of the division’s State Historic Preservation Office after serving since 2008 as a historian/heritage resource specialist for the Fairfax County (Va.) Department of Planning and Zoning. Previously, she served as a tour guide at the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Woodlawn historic site in Alexandria, Va., and as an intern at the Ypsilanti Historical Society and the Henry Ford, both in Michigan. She holds a master’s degree in historic preservation from Eastern Michigan University, and degrees in finance from Walsh College and Oakland University.
Turkawski’s responsibilities at the division include conducting cultural resource reviews of federally funded or permitted projects for Section 106 compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act for historical and architectural properties; providing coordination services with state designated certified local governments; and oversight of division-held historic preservation easements and covenants.
A resident of New Castle, Del., Nicole Worthley joined the staff of the New Castle Court House Museum as a historic-site interpreter after three seasons serving in that role at Fort Delaware State Park. Worthley graduated in May 2015 from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in history and anthropology which included internships at the Newark History Museum and the Delaware Academy of Medicine. As a historic-site interpreter dressed in period clothing, Worthley will add a human face to Delaware history by bringing the people and events of the past to life.