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The Heritage Society of Essex and Middle River’s new officers are (left to right): Trustee Brian K. Marchetti, Vice President George Weiss, Treasurer Paul Rufe, Building & Maintenance Director Cynthia (Sandy) Gruzs, Historian Paul Blitz, Trustee Del. Ric Metzgar, Trustee Karie May, President Lisa Harlow, Secretary William Feuer and Membership Committee Chair Kelly Bowman.

ESSEX — The Heritage Society of Essex and Middle River announced a new slate of leaders who took office at the start of this year and will guide the museum through reopening its doors to the public after remaining closed for most of last year.

Lisa Harlow, who has been involved with the museum since early 2015 and previously served as the museum’s secretary, was sworn in as president. She said she was looking forward to getting back in touch with the community.

“As COVID restrictions in the county were put in place, we were unable to open in April, and we decided to remain closed to the public this season out of an abundance of caution,” she said in a statement to The Avenue. “We look forward to reopening our doors to the community, and we hope that this spring we will determine that it is safe to do so.”

She and the other officers will serve two-year terms in their current roles, carrying them through the end of next year when — hopefully — the world will be something like back to normal. They were sworn in by Julie Ensor, the Baltimore County Clerk of the Circuit Court.

In addition to Harlow, the new officers are George Weiss as Vice President, William Feuer as Secretary, Paul Rufe as Treasurer, Paul Blitz as Historian, Cynthia ‘Sandy’ Gruzs as Building & Maintenance Director and Kelly Bowman as Membership Committee Chair. The three trustees are Brian Marchetti, Karie May and District 6 Del. Ric Metzgar.

While the museum’s doors have been closed to the public, private events as part of the museum’s paranormal program have continued, overseen by Gruzs. The gatherings are limited to 10 people, including Gruzs herself, and guests are required to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing.

“As the Museum is funded solely by donations and events such as these, it has been critical for us to keep these going to keep us afloat,” Harlow said.

Looking ahead, she said the museum will look to open once per month with free themed events and tours.

“We feel that this will enable us to offer something fun for families to regularly take part in and instill a love of history in the younger generations,” she said. “Because we are in the heart of Essex, we would love for the Museum to be recognized once again as a gathering place for the community.”

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