Work We Do: Vicki Berger, Suffolk County Historical Society

Hi, my name is Vicki Berger. I am the executive director here at the Suffolk County Historical Society Museum.

I have always been a history buff; I kind of consider myself an old soul. I had a strong corporate background, which helps tremendously here with the financing and the management. But I also have a background as an interior designer and I used to design a lot of exhibits for smaller, little town museums.

For a quiet little museum on the outside, on the inside we are very, very busy. Our day is very hectic.

We are a nonprofit organization, so a big part of what we do here is fundraising to cover the overhead of the expenses of the museum. It costs about $500,000 a year to run and operate the museum. The most challenging part of the job is definitely the funding. I’m responsible for making sure the revenues are all in place to support the museum. It’s a big responsibility. It’s a lot of pressure, but I wouldn’t call it stressful because I love what I do.

Then, with those funds, we curate exhibits that are based on Suffolk County history. My favorite part of the job is curating; that is where we put full, artistic creativity into what we do. We choose everything from the color of the paint on the walls, from selecting the artifacts to trying to tell a story through the artifacts to create an educational experience for the patrons.

It’s a lot of fun. It’s storytelling, it’s educational but it also has so much creativity involved.

We have a tremendous collection of artifacts and we’re always reviewing and inspecting them. We inspect them for condition, and if anything needs reconditioning we apply for the funding to send them out to conservation centers so they last another 200 years or more.

We also operate a library of archival documents that is available to the public for research and genealogy.

This job is all of my passions combined into one, which is why they say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. I really enjoy every aspect of this job.

“The Work We Do” is a Riverhead News-Review multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. It is made possible by Peconic Landing. See more photos on Instagram @riverheadnewsreview.