Staff and Board

Meet our new Executive Director – Erin Tobin



Steven Engelhart, Executive Director

Steven was a founding AARCH board member 1990 before becoming its first executive director in 1994. Reflecting on his 26 years at AARCH, he says “I am extremely proud of the big things that we have accomplished, including saving Camp Santanoni, the Bow Bridge, the Old Stone Barracks, and several fire observation towers, but I am equally proud of our less visible work – the myriad of ways that we’ve worked with people all over the region to restore historic buildings and bring new life back to their communities.” Steven is a native of the region and has a B.A. from SUNY Plattsburgh and a M.S. in historic preservation from the University of Vermont. He is the author of Crossing the River: Historic Bridges of the AuSable River, a small book about bridges and local history of the AuSable Valley. He resides in Essex.

Contact Steven for information about AARCH, preservation issues and advocacy, endangered properties, Camp Santanoni, fire towers, and special projects.

Samantha Johnson, Administrative Director

Samantha joined AARCH in 2021.  A Schuyler Falls native, she first worked for AARCH as an intern while studying art history at SUNY Plattsburgh. Since then, she has gone on to earn an M.S. in historic preservation from the University of Vermont and most recently worked at an architectural firm in New York City that specializes in historic restoration. Samantha has long been passionate about history and has had the opportunity to follow that curiosity through positions at museums, archives, and archaeological sites. She brings this diverse perspective along with her North Country roots to AARCH, where she is eager to help the team continue to explore and preserve the rich legacy of the Adirondacks.

Contact Samantha about joining or supporting AARCH, your membership questions, merchandise orders, tour reservations, or information about the organization and our work.

Christine Bush, Preservation Services Director

Christine has spent over 25 years in the construction industry, working with architects specializing in historic preservation and new construction. After formal training in architecture and historic preservation at Roger Williams University and the Preservation Trades Institute, Christine worked for Lowell National Historical Park on many extensive restoration projects.  Christine’s deep love of the Adirondacks brought her to the north country  nearly two decades ago. She has worked as an independent contractor for local architects and builders before taking the position at AARCH.

Contact Christine for information about State and Federal tax credits, technical and special assistance with your historic properties, and information about and help writing National Register nominations.  Christine also manages AARCH’s easements and our annual preservation awards program.

Nolan Cool, Educational Programs Director

Nolan joined AARCH in 2018 after completing the Public History Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As a public historian, he is passionate about exploring how communities preserve, remember, and use history and historic places to connect their past with their present. He has authored articles on the history of both Upstate New York and Western Massachusetts. Nolan is a native of Central New York, where he grew up near Utica and graduated from Utica College.

Contact Nolan about our extensive public education program, which includes a series of day-long and multi-day tours to communities within and around the Adirondacks, preservation-inspired workshops, as well as our popular series of talks and presentations.

Board of Directors

Jan C. K. Anderson is the Founder of RESTORE, a not-for-profit educational corporation dedicated to advancing the technology of building conservation. Ms. Anderson served as a Commissioner of the United States Commission on UNESCO until the United States withdrew from UNESCO in 2019. She is a member of the Executive Committee of US/ICOMOS­—the United States National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, and is the immediate past President of the Board of Trustees. She currently serves as a Vice President of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Education. Ms Anderson is a Fellow of US/ICOMOS­, and is also a Fellow of APTI – the Association for Preservation Technology International.  Ms. Anderson is a former Vice President of the New York State Preservation League and currently serves on the League’s Governance Committee and Trustees Council.  Ms. Anderson is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, where she has also served as an adjunct professor for several years. Ms. Anderson lives in Chappaqua, New York and has a family home in the Adirondacks designed by Rockwell Kent.

Susan Arena is currently an architectural historian at EDR (Environmental Design & Research) and has more than a decade of experience in the field of preservation including work in non-profit, private, and public sectors. She was a summer intern at Great Camp Santanoni in 2007, AARCH’s Program Director from 2008 to 2014, and the first Preservation Planner for the City of Worcester. Susan received an MS in Historic Preservation from the University of Vermont and a BA in Architectural Studies from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. After several years in Massachusetts, Susan now lives in Greenwich, New York, where she is restoring her turn-of-the-century house and barn.

Bill Barnes had a decades-long career in human resources, including at Interleaf, a software company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in his own HR firm, and with several nonprofits. He is also a professional business coach. Currently retired, Bill lives in Wilmington, with his wife Christine. He is a member of the Lake Placid Rotary Club and served as President for the 2016-17 year.


Samantha Bosshart (Secretary) has 25 years of experience in the field of historic preservation.  Since 2008 she has served as the Executive Director of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, where she oversees advocacy, technical assistance, educational programs, and restoration projects. Samantha previously worked at Historic Albany Foundation and Galveston Historical Foundation. She has a BA in History from Indiana University and completed her coursework for an MA in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University.  She currently serves on the board of directors of the National Preservation Partners Network.

 Susan Darrin. For more than twenty years Susan has served as a career volunteer and noted philanthropist and has been actively engaged with many community, civic, education and arts related organizations, including leadership roles with the Darrin Fresh Water Institute in Bolton Landing and the Lake George Basin Land Conservancy. She is a member of the board of trustees for the Hague Historical Society and Fort Ticonderoga, where she has served as the ongoing creative chairperson for the Garden Party, which serves as the annual fundraiser for awareness and development for the historic Kings Garden. Since its inception, she has also played an active role with the Automobile Museum in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Richard Frost grew up in the southern Adirondacks, then graduated from Wesleyan University and Duke University Medical School before completing residency in internal medicine at the University of Kentucky. He returned north in 1979 to practice internal medicine in Plattsburgh. He long wrote a regional travel column, “A Day Away,” for the Plattsburgh Press Republican’s Sunday edition. Now he writes a twice-monthly history column for Lake Champlain Weekly.  Along with three travel books, he has written “Plattsburgh– A City’s First Century,” a history of Hotel Champlain (now Clinton Community College), and “The Plattsburgh Military Reservation: A Pictorial History.” History was his entryway into interest in architecture– that plus the fact he and his wife Marty and Labrador retriever Zoey live in a house in Schuyler Falls about to celebrate its bicentennial.

Darcey Hale. After 40 years as a teacher and Head of School, Darcey was able to put into practice the passion for history that she developed in Vassar College’s first American Cultural History Program. She and her husband retired to their National Historic District home in Willsborough where they have restored 12 Clark buildings. Over the past 15 years she archived 52,000 19th century Clark documents, as well as almost 6,000 photographs that reflect the family’s lives as limestone quarriers, ship builders and farmers and curated over 2,000 textiles and costumes. These are now at the NYS Library and Museum. Currently, she is completing her third of six books interpreting the 19th century in the Champlain Valley as viewed through the eyes of the Clark family.

Sarah Heffern first joined AARCH as an intern at Camp Santanoni where she collaborated on website development for Camp Santanoni as well as did hands-on preservation work. She most recently worked in social media for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Previously, she managed website and e-mail communications for Historic Hotels of America. Sarah received a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Siena and earned a Certificate in Historic Preservation from Goucher. She lives in Washington, D.C.

 David Hislop worked for most of his professional life as a psychologist for New York State but has always been a passionate preservationist. Besides being an AARCH board member for decades and its president from 2005 to 2011, he has served as the president and chief volunteer for the Essex Community Heritage Organization (ECHO), is a long-time member and now Chair of the Essex Planning Board, and taken on the restoration of several historic buildings, including Greystone Mansion. In 2002, he received an MA in Historic Preservation from Goucher College.

Ed Hodges is Principal and CEO of DiMella Shaffer, Architects in Boston and has lots of personal and professional experience in historic preservation. About being a member of the AARCH board he said “My interest in Adirondack architecture is rooted first in the fact that I am an architect, second that I am a woodworker, and lastly, that special places often need advocacy.” Ed previously served for six years on the AARCH Board of Directors  and we are pleased to welcome him back.

William Johnston (Vice President) was the first paid, professional County Planner/Planning Director for Essex County, New York.  He was hired to start-up a planning office and to develop programs to assist Essex County communities, a job he held from 1974 until he retired in 2002. He encouraged communities to recognize the importance of their historic resources, and initiated historic surveys, the establishment of historic districts, and preservation and adaptive re-use of historic structures.  He is a one of the six founding incorporators of AARCH.

Bill received a BA from Union College.  He did graduate work in planning at Pratt Institute, where he received an MS in City and Regional Planning, and at University of Pennsylvania.  He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania from 1965-1967.

Howie Kirschenbaum was a founding AARCH board member in 1990, was its first president, and has been an active board member ever since. Besides his leadership in helping to create and grow AARCH, he was also largely responsible for the successful campaign to save Camp Santanoni and played a large role in saving other endangered Great Camps, including Sagamore, Uncas, Warren Point Lodge, and White Pine Camp. He has written books on Sagamore, Santanoni, Uncas, and White Pine Camp. In 2011, he received an Excellence in Historic Preservation award from the Preservation League of New York State.

Howie is Professor Emeritus and Former Chair on the Department of Counseling and Human Development, Warner School of Education, University of Rochester.  He has written some 20 books in the fields of education and psychology.

Dean Melville (President)
is a retired physician who previously practiced in Saranac Lake, and Syracuse. He now lives in a historic home in Upper Jay. In Cazenovia, White Store, Norwich and Upper Jay he was an active, hands-on practitioner of preservation through working on various historic buildings and features, including a farmhouse, barn, silo, and stone walls.  


Wester Miga grew up in New Hartford, New York. He was a sales manager at General Mills for 30 years, retiring to Newcomb in 2010. He and his wife, Lorraine, first became involved with AARCH through wanting to contribute to Camp Santanoni, which is visible from their home and they used AARCH tours as a way to understand other Adirondack Park sites and resources. He was Newcomb Town Supervisor from 2016 to 2018 and is currently the Deputy Town Supervisor. Wester previous served on the AARCH board from 2012-2018.


Maria Russell is retired from a career on the public relations faculty of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, including four terms as Chair of the school’s Public Relations Department. Previously she enjoyed a fourteen-year career in the private sector, including supervision of the press center for the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree with Honors from College of St. Rose, and a Masters in Journalism at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. Maria lives in Fayetteville.

Andy Prescott was a founder of Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture and Engineering (EYP) a large firm with offices throughout the U.S. and overseas. A specialty is adaptive-use and preservation. Projects included: in New York – the State Capitol, the State Education Building, Federal Hall, Ellis Island and Albany’s Union Station; in Washington D.C. – The US Capitol, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the Old Executive Office Building, and the Vice President’s residence.  Significant collegiate projects include work at Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Williams, and Middlebury; and US Embassies around the world.

Andy was a founder of Historic Albany and President of NCARB regulating architectural practice throughout the US. He is past President of AARCH and current ADKAction’s Vice President. He and wife Kathy are Keeseville residents.

Peter Sefton lives in Washington, DC and seasonally on a family farm in Northville. He’s been on the board of the DC Preservation League and chairs their Landmarks Committee and writes many landmark nominations.  He also does some paid historic preservation consulting work, including currently an historic district nomination for Eckington in near northeast Washington.

Jim Van Hoven spent his career as a teacher and educational administrator. He served as the Headmaster of two independent schools and, prior to his 2002 retirement, as a School Superintendent in Westchester County.  He and his wife Colleen bought a historic home in the hamlet of Essex in 1978 and have lived there full time since his retirement. During the 2000’s Jim raised funds to rehabilitate the historic Essex Community Church and oversaw that project to completion. He served for many years as chair of the town planning board, retiring at the end of 2017.  During his tenure he completed a comprehensive revision of the town’s zoning law. He remains very active, as is Colleen, in community affairs. 

Jim graduated from Williams College, holds an MA in American Studies from NYU and a Doctor of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.


Advisory Council

Pat Benton, Blue Mountain Lake
Sally Berk, Indian Lake
Duncan Cameron, Paul Smiths
Robert Craft, Corlear Bay

Edward Finnerty, Lake Placid
Chuck Higgerson, Deansboro
Mary Hotaling, Saranac Lake
Chad Kilbourne, Greenfield Center
Richard Longstreth, Keene Valley
Nils Luderowski, Keene
Willem Monster, Northville
Lauren Murphy, Essex
Suzanne Roberson, Albany
Jeffrey Sellon, Raquette Lake
Carl Stearns, Syracuse
Rick Weerts, Port Kent
Janice Woodbury, Kattskill Bay