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Fenton History Center Hires New Director

The Fenton History Center has a new director.

Janet Wahlberg, president of the Fenton History Center board of trustees, told The Post-Journal that Jane Babinsky has been hired to be the new executive director. Wahlberg said Babinsky has a degree in museum science and has been the director of the Dunkirk Historical Museum for the last three and half years. Before her time in Dunkirk, Babinsky was the director of the Chagrin Falls Historical Society in Ohio for several years.

“She is very knowledgeable about how to handle exhibits and the archives,” Wahlberg said.

Wahlberg said Babinsky has tripled membership in both Dunkirk and Chagrin Falls with innovative ideas. One of those ideas that Babinsky is looking to start in Jamestown is to host a large gala as a fundraising tactic. Wahlberg said Babinsky will start working at the Fenton Monday, May 23.

“We’re really excited to have her starting,” she said.

In March, after only two months on the job, Renee Freifeld left as the executive director of the Fenton. Freifeld had started her new position on Jan. 10 after 30 years of being a communications professional.

In March, Wahlberg told The Post-Journal that Freifeld was “no longer with us. It was a mutual decision.” Wahlberg did not expand on why Freifeld left the organization and wouldn’t answer additional questions about the search process to find a new executive director.

On Wednesday, Wahlberg again didn’t respond to why Freifeld left as director.

Freifeld had replaced Noah Goodling, who resigned in December after being with the center since August 2017. Goodling accepted the project director position with the Capacity Lab, which is a nonprofit organization. The Capacity Lab was formed in 2019 with representatives from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation; Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation; Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation; United Way of Northern Chautauqua County; United Way of Southern Chautauqua County; and Winifred Crawford Dibert Foundation.

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