Bristol, R.I. – Coggeshall Farm Museum celebrated the dedication of the newly-built barn on the property to the Tyska Family on October 16, 2021.
Coggeshall board members Jim Yess and Steve Lake were instrumental in the effort to honor the Tyskas, by naming the barn after them. Recognizing the value and importance of animals to Coggeshall, even in advance of the Old Sturbridge Village partnership, Andy Tyska, gave time, talent (physical labor), and treasure (funds and materials) to the creation of this barn. As Bristol natives dedicated to the community and Coggeshall Farm Museum, Andy and Nicki have given a lot to the Farm. Andy even shared a story about helping to acquire a team of oxen years ago and being trained to drive them himself! The Tyskas are passionate advocates for the Farm and enthusiastic, generous supporters of the partnership.
Jim Donahue, President and CEO of Old Sturbridge Village served as MC and Andy and Nicki were honored by Bristol Representatives June Speakman and Susan Donovan, as well as State Senator Wally Felag and R.I. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, all of whom offered congratulations and appreciation on behalf of the community and the State. Sec. Gorbea also presented Andy with a citation of congratulations. Former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and his wife, Representative Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung, were also in attendance.
Longtime friend of Old Sturbridge Village and host of The New Yankee Workshop and This Old House, Norm Abram, offered a keynote about historic preservation and the skill and dedication of fine craftsmanship in the construction of such an important building for the Farm.
Additionally, there were a number of representatives of the R.I. Department of Environmental Management, who administer Colt State Park, in which Coggeshall is located. Of particular note, former Coggeshall Executive Director Cindy Elder, now with D.E.M., was there, along with Acting Director of DEM, Terry Gray, who offered his congratulations and appreciation, as well as his enthusiasm for a long and fruitful partnership between D.E.M. and Coggeshall Farm Museum.
Morgan Devlin, the new president of the Coggeshall board, offered her congratulations on behalf of that body, ultimately recognizing the Tyskas with the words emblazoned on the new plaque on the barn:
“The Tyska Barn: Honoring a family of generous and enduring dedication to this community and to this farm”
As Jim wrapped up the event, his comments included this quote:
“Through their dedication and generosity, Andy and Nicki Tyska have made this new barn a reality and changed the landscape and trajectory of the Farm for years to come. If not for families like the Tyskas, we wouldn’t be where we are today. The visionary support of the philanthropic community makes all the difference for places like Coggeshall Farm Museum.”