July 6, 2022

New Trustees Join Connecticut River Museum

ESSEX -– The Connecticut River Museum is proud to announce its 2014 class of incoming trustees.  At the annual meeting on July 11 the Board and Membership of the Museum voted in five new trustees to help manage and oversee the National Register Historic site and museum.  The new trustees include Alison Brinkmann, Peter Coombs, Linda Douglas, Ray Gaulke, and Dr. Allan Rubenstein.

Alison Brinkmann is a resident of Essex where she lives with her husband Stephen.  Before dedicating her time to charitable work, she was a specialty chemical and laboratory supply sales executive. Now, in addition to being the Founder and President of Simply Sharing, a non-profit dedicated to helping the homeless in Connecticut, Alison is also actively involved with the Rotary Club of Essex, sits on the Essex Yacht Club House Committee and serves as membership chair of the Essex Historical Society.  Alison and Stephen enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and boating in the Essex area.

Peter Coombs is a resident of Essex where he and his wife Jane Siris are Principal Partners in Siris/Coombs Architects.  The couple had practiced architecture in Manhattan for 30 years and recently moved the firm’s main office to Essex.  They live in a house which they designed for themselves and built on the site of the family homestead.  Peter also serves on the Board of Directors for Essex Elderly and Affordable Housing and is an active member of the Essex Land Trust.   He is a sailor and has plied the waters of the Connecticut River since childhood where he derived an abiding interest in both the conservation of the River’s environment and its rich history.

Linda Douglas has practiced law in the Essex area for 28 years. She has been an active member of the community where she and her husband Rob raised their three children. The family enjoys sailing and boating on the Connecticut River.

Ray Gaulke is a resident of Old Saybrook where he lives with his wife Sydney Anderson and their five year old standard poodle Riley. Ray was one of the original Mad Men, beginning his advertising career in Chicago in the mid 60’s. He is a retired Navy Captain, an avid sailor turned power boater and a boat builder interested in teaching these skills to young people.

Dr. Allan Rubenstein is Clinical Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at NYU Langone Medical Center, Vice Chairman and Lead Director of The Cooper Companies (COO, NYSE), and Chairman of CalAsia Pharmaceuticals.  He, his wife Jane and son Jordan live in Manhattan and Killingworth.  Rubenstein has had a life-long interest in all things nautical since he built a raft at the age of 11 and attempted to sail (unsuccessfully) from his home on Lake Erie to Europe.

Founded in 1974, the Connecticut River Museum has developed as a place where anyone interested in topics about the River can come and be inspired through exhibitions and collections, a library, educational opportunities and public programs.  The Connecticut River Museum’s mission is to lead in the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its valley. Since 1986 it has had the honor of being accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, a mark of distinction in the field.

The Museum was started with the preservation of the 1878 Essex Steamboat Dock and Warehouse.  Threatened with demolition, the building was saved through preservation efforts by a group of history-minded citizens. Adjacent to Steamboat Dock sat another historic property, the Hayden Chandlery, built in 1813.  In 1982 the building was restored and renovated as the Thomas A. Stevens Library.

​The Museum nearly doubled its campus in 2011 with the purchase of the adjacent historic 1732 Samuel Lay House property. Education is central to the Museum’s mission. Public programs take many forms including workshops for school age children, adult lectures, and on-water excursions aboard the schooner Mary E and Enviro-Lab III ​as part of its popular winter Eagle Watches. Over the past year, the museum has served more than 20,000 general visitors, delivered programing to 3,0​00 school children, and provided scholarship support to ​more than 900 underserved school children and summer campers.


According to the museum’s executive director, Christopher Dobbs, “We are pleased to have this talented crew of dedicated ​champions join the museum board and help lead it successfully into the next forty years.” For more information, please call 860-767-8269. The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is a membership supported educational organization. Membership is open to all. More information can be found at www.ctrivermuseum.org.