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Preserve Rhode Island's mission is to protect and activate historic places for the benefit of all Rhode Islanders.


Rebecca J. Bertrand, Co-Chair

Christopher G. Ponder, Co-Chair

John M. Woolsey, Co-Chair

Kimberly Smith Barnett
Sheila Brush
Abigail Campbell-King

Kristen A. Carron Esq.

Jerry W. Dauterive Ph. D.

Jeremiah E. de Rham

Michele Fonseca

Elizabeth Alexander Goddard

Theresa Guzman Stokes

Annalisa Heppner

William W. Kenyon

Amy Oakley

Ronald Onorato

Brett N. Pelletier

Clark Schoettle

Michael A. Sherry

Amy Sonder 

Jennifer Suellentrop



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Valerie Talmage

Executive Director

Valerie is an experienced preservation professional and non-profit administrator.  She is the former Executive Director of the Massachusetts Historical Commission and MA State Historic Preservation Officer.  She then shifted from working in historic preservation policy and regulation to land conservation as a Land Protection Specialist for The Trustees of Reservations.  In 1997, Valerie became the Director of Projects for the New England Office of the Trust for Public Land, overseeing a $50 million portfolio of conservation real estate transactions.  In 2007, Valerie joined Preserve Rhode Island as its Executive Director.

(401) 272-5101 ext. 203

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Tom Peterson

Development and

Communications Director

Tom Peterson works with non-profits to build sustainable models for growth.  A former marketing strategist and brand builder for international CPG companies (Unilever, Estee Lauder, Swarovski), tech companies (IGT), marketing agencies, non-profits and small/challenger brands, he now utilizes his expertise for positive impact in Rhode Island.  His ability to interpret consumer insights, find new markets and audiences, build affinity and loyalty with current customers/donors and create effective communication strategies across media platforms provide him with a unique ability in helping organizations meet their goals.   He has a B.A. in Finance from Fordham University and a M.B.A. in Marketing/International Business from N.Y.U.

(401) 272-5101 ext. 201

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Paul Trudeau

Director of Preservation

Paul joined Preserve RI in 2018. His background includes working as a Preservation Planner for the City of Cambridge, MA, and Program Director for the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions, as well as a project manager in the audio/visual industry. With Preserve RI, Paul has taken on a variety of roles including property management, scoping and managing capital projects, program development, grants management, preservation technical assistance, and managing Revolving Fund projects. A native of Rhode Island, he holds both a B.A. in History and a M.A. in Historic Preservation from the University of Georgia.

401-272-5101 ext. 206


Emma Sheridan

Program Coordinator

A part of the PRI team since 2022, Emma has experience working across diverse spaces, from marketing and hospitality to event and property management, when she administered several historic buildings on Providence’s West End. Having moved to Warren from Washington, DC, Emma completed her Bachelor’s in Communications with a minor in Political Science at the University of Rhode Island. She is passionate about expanding the dialogue of historical preservation to questions of housing justice and public policy, in order to ask how built environments can be both sustainably and equitably stewarded. Away from PRI, Emma enjoys working on a range of design, illustration, and architectural projects.

(401) 272-5101 ext. 204

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Alexander Costa

Communications and Events Coordinator

Joining Preserve Rhode Island in 2023, Alex is coming in after a year of service with AmeriCorps*VISTA. He has experience working in different areas, such as sales, service, and higher education. Born in Rhode Island, Alex graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2022 with a B.S. in Health Studies and a B.A. in History. Having always been interested in history and historical places, Alex is excited to work with the team, but is also ready to converge other interests such as equitable housing, accessibility, and urban design in order to ensure that historical preservation can continue on an upward trend of inclusivity.

(401) 272-5101 ext. 205


Carrie Taylor

Lippitt House Museum Director

Carrie came to Lippitt House Museum to be its first director in 2013. Prior to joining PRI, she was Registrar and later Collections Manager at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia home.  Carrie was elected Phi Beta Kappa and graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in History.  She then earned a master’s degree in Public History with a Museums Studies concentration from the University of South Carolina. She is an active member of several professional organizations including the American Association for State and Local History, the New England Museum Association and the Victorian Society in America. She serves on the Board of the Friends of the Brown University Library and is a 2013 graduate of the Seminar for Historical Administration.

(401) 490-0289

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Cathy Saunders

Lippitt House Museum Curator of Education

Cathy has spent three decades providing children and adults with experiences, knowledge, and tools to enable them to be their own advocates and their own agents for change. She earned an MSEd in Museum Education Leadership from Bank Street College. She has held education leadership positions at Providence Children’s Museum and Science Museum of Minnesota. She is a member of the board of directors of New England Museum Association. Currently, she is an independent consultant based in Providence, Rhode Island and Curator of Education at Lippitt House Museum.


(401) 453-0688


Jane Bird

Museum Associate


Jane comes to Preserve Rhode Island from a background in community outreach and the arts. She grew an early love of history as a tour guide, researcher and historical reenactor at several house museums in her hometown of Concord, Massachusetts. Creating and performing educational programs at Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, the Wayside, the Concord Museum, The Old Manse, and the Longfellow House in Cambridge, she also served as a tour guide at the Southeast Lighthouse on Block Island, and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City. Jane holds a B.F.A. in Drama from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and trained at the Atlantic Theater Conservatory in New York. In addition to her work at Lippitt House, Jane is an active volunteer in educational theater, improv and drama therapy organizations in Providence.

(401) 453-0688

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Mat Hickey

Property Manager


Mat is a New England native who joined PRI in April 2023. With a deep connection to the region, Mat's family settled in Massachusetts in the 1800s; his grandmother even worked as a ladies maid for Blanche Ames at Borderland Estate in Easton, MA. He spent his summers on Block Island, RI, where his family settled in 1805. His grandfather, Rob Lewis, founded the Block Island Conservancy in 1972 and spearheaded the preservation of over 50% of the island as well as the moving of the Southeast Lighthouse. Mat's passion for preservation led him to a career in estate management, where he honed his skills caring for historic properties. Most recently, he managed the last privately-owned Stanford White home in Newport, RI; built in 1882, it is still used as a summer home by the original family today.

(401) 272-5101 ext. 202

Job Opportunities


Internship at Lippitt House Museum

If you are interested in an Internship with Lippitt House Museum, please send an e-mail to Carrie Taylor, Lippitt House Museum's Director with information about the type of internship you are seeking and your current school/college/university affiliation. 


Preserve Rhode Island (PRI) was founded in 1956 under state charter to "preserve the beautiful historic buildings, places and things in Rhode Island."  Properties such as Lippitt House Museum, Jeremiah Dexter House, Philip Walker House, and Hannah Robinson's Rock were donated, accepted for stewardship, and have been guided into responsible management - whether under our direct care or through affiliated organizations.


In 1999, the organization adopted its current name (previously the Heritage Foundation of Rhode Island and then the Heritage Trust of Rhode Island), marking the expansion of its role from steward to statewide preservation advocate.  PRI began responding to local issues in communities that grappled with sprawl, lack of resources, community revitalization, maintaining community character and more.


PRI is a 501(3)c non-profit charitable organization directed by a volunteer Board of Trustees dedicated to protecting the historic and unique places that define Rhode Island.  Our small professional staff work with a philosophy of team work amongst ourselves and collaborate with other organizations and individuals, all to preserve Rhode Island as a place where we love to live, work and play.

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