The Kelley House welcomes Anne Semans as its new Director. Anne brings 30 years’ experience from the for-profit world, with a background in marketing, small business management, education, and hospitality. She is the author of four self-help books, and has written extensively on parenting, health, and travel. Before moving to Mendocino, Anne lived in San Francisco, where she worked with the groundbreaking, women-friendly, sex-positive, adult toy retailer, toys boutiques, and educators “Good Vibrations” and “Babeland.”
During her 15 years on the Coast, Anne has cultivated a deep appreciation for the local community and a love of Mendocino’s rich history, as well as the many people who have worked to preserve it. Asked what she looks forward to most in her new role, Anne replied, “I am excited to be working at the Kelley House when the pandemic recedes and we can come together again as a community. I’m looking forward to meeting, in person, the colorful people connected to this organization. Everyone is a storyteller!”
Her plans for the organization are geared toward helping it regain its footing after having been closed for a year. Looking for additional funding sources, planning ways to re-open safely, expanding the Kelley House tours to satisfy the curiosity of locals and visitors, and documenting the pandemic, are all things on her priority list. “If there’s anything this past year of major social, political, and economic upheaval has taught us, it’s that the historian’s role as truth-teller is vital. We are living history, and it’s important that we record it accurately so that future generations can learn from us.”
Anne moved to the Mendocino Coast along with her two young daughters, Roxanne and Lily, in 2005. Her family was introduced to the Kelley House through the Mendocino Grammar School as part of their work teaching kids about California history. “All their projects—building Pomo shelters, model dairy farms, water towers—they brought history to life and helped all of us learn to love and respect the land, our history, and diverse cultures.”
Anne also worked for several years as a local tour guide and credits the Kelley House with innovating one of the best tours of all time. “One of my favorite memories was taking my girls on a Halloween cemetery tour where volunteers dressed up as townspeople buried in Evergreen Cemetery. What frightful fun we had as each of the actors popped out from behind their character’s gravestone and regaled us with their tales.”
In concert with Museum Curator Karen McGrath, Anne is excited to be a part of the Kelley House’s next chapter. “So many people have poured heart and soul into the work of preserving Mendocino’s past. I’m honored to be part of the next wave.”
Keep in touch with the Kelley House! Go to kelleyhousemuseum.org to become a member, subscribe to our newsletter, and learn more about Mendocino’s history with our online collections and exhibits.