Humans of the Catskills: Linda Norris

Linda Norris / Photo Credit: Drew Harty

Journey to the Catskills:

I came to the Catskills – more accurately, Delaware County, decades ago, as the first-time director of the Delaware County Historical Association. I still remember that time – almost 13 years as director! – as a time of intense learning, including some lessons about communities and museums I still use today. I’m the rare person who came here for a job, and I also almost never meet people here who grew up somewhere else in upstate New York. In my case, that was Elmira, further west, past the soda or pop defining line. To be honest, I never thought I would still be here!


I’ve worked in and around museums since I was a teenager. Right now, I’m Senior Specialist for Methodology and Practice for the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. The Coalition is the only global network of more than 350 sites around the world dedicated to the idea that we can create a more just future for everyone by using an understanding of the past. My work is incredibly varied, which I love. Right now, I’m working on projects that range from managing the re-vitalization of Maison des Esclaves (the House of Slaves) in Senegal; to training staff at the Wild Center in the Adirondacks on how to use dialogue to encourage conversation around climate change.

Somewhere between avocation and vocation at the moment is my support of Ukraine. I first went there in 2009 and have returned almost every year, until 2020, for one project or another. I’m spending time right now scrolling through the news and working to support colleagues and cultural heritage organizations there. I’m in awe of the heroism and dedication of Ukrainians from every walk of life and look forward to returning.


Luckily my work often supports my avocation, which is traveling, meeting new people, and getting to understand new places. But last year, as the pandemic lingered on, I took on a different travel challenge. One day in late March 2021, I was coming home from somewhere and drove through a sweet-smelling cloud of steam from a sap house. It reminded me, somehow, that there was something very special about where I lived. I bought a paper map, got a big blue Sharpie, and set out to drive every single road in Delaware County. It took from the first day of spring to the last day of summer, but I did it! Delaware County is a beautiful, diverse county – up and down roads, buying eggs and veggies along the way, stopping at waterfalls, and enjoying moments when a valley stretches out before you – it was a great experience and deepened my love for this place.

Happiness Is:

Learning something new about someone or somewhere.  

Favorite Dish:

Eating out for me is as much about place and company as it is the food itself. So, here’s a few: when traveling with my husband Drew and daughter Anna, taking a mid-afternoon break to have a great baked good and coffee or tea. It’s made us appreciate so many cities! And another, on a trip to Ukraine, my friend Eugene took us high into the Carpathians to visit cheesemakers. Lunch in their little hut was fresh cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers, bread and samohon, home-brewed vodka. And finally, when I’m home in the fall, the Treadwell Methodist Church annual turkey supper, with fabulous homemade everything.

Ideal Country Home:

I don’t think of where I live as a country home. It’s just home for us.