The Historical Society was founded in 1921 to act as the preeminent historical institution for the oldest town in Connecticut. By preserving, interpreting, and disseminating the artifacts and stories of the neighborhood, the society seeks to invite people to engage with the changing history of Windsor.
McKenney, who has lived in Windsor for nearly three decades and has been active with the Society for three years, was chosen to serve a one-year term, according to the CT Insider.
The Executive Director of the Society, Douglas Shipman, said, “Randy has expressed interest in Windsor history for many, many years.” He also added that McKenney has presided over a number of boards, served on the Town Council for ten years, and has made significant contributions to racial dialogue in Windsor.
“I’ve been involved in the community and this is just kind of new, being a part of leadership with the historical society,” the newly elected president said. “I feel comfortable because I think we’ve done really good work the last couple of years and we’ve actually made some changes.”
Only two people of color were on the board when McKenney joined the Society three years ago, he noted.
According to Shipman, 52% of the town’s residents are people of color, compared to 47% of the 17-member board. “Our goal is to actually represent the community with our board,” he said. He stated that by enlisting a more diverse staff, members, and volunteers, he hopes to make the Historical Society more inclusive as a whole.
Even so, McKenney was careful to point out that people aren’t just chosen for the board based on their skin tone.
Making society more diverse is a long-term process, according to Shipman, and there is still much to be done. In an effort to engage the town’s younger residents, the society elected two students to the Board of Directors in December.
“Our goal is that all Windsor people see themselves reflected in their shared history here and experience the Society as a vital part of their community,” the executive director said.