A leader in the local effort to chronicle and preserve the past is preparing to retire.
Brenda Baratto’s last day as the executive director of the Aiken County Historical Museum will be Nov. 19.
“It’s just time,” she said in a recent telephone interview. “I’ve been here for 11 years, and it’s time to concentrate on other things.”
She and her husband, Larry, are moving from Aiken to a new home in Evans, Georgia, this weekend.
“I’ll probably be unpacking for the rest of the year,” she said.
Baratto began her stint at the Historical Museum as a part-time employee.
Her job was to “spread out the focus so there was some on the other communities, not just Aiken,” she said.
Baratto later served as the collections manager, and she became the executive director after Elliott Levy retired from that position in 2014.
“It has been a joy, being around the volunteers here and the people who have contributed to history,” Baratto said. “The stories you hear, you can’t make some of this stuff up. It’s like you’re a kid in a candy store. There is so much going on. My paths have crossed with those of so many people from whom I have learned so much.”
Baratto isn’t the only Aiken County employee in a management position who will be leaving soon.
Human Resources Director Gayle Wolman also is retiring. Her last day will be Oct. 4.
The desire to spend more time with her husband, David, was the major reason for Wolman’s decision.
“Prior to going into human resources, I was a concert pianist,” Wolman said. “I also directed musical theater for over 30 years. My husband, before he went into medicine (to become a physician’s assistant), was a producer in New York City, both on and off Broadway. He also is a writer and a published author.
“We think it would be kind of fun, while we still have our energy and health, to go and do some things that would give us pleasure, both from a musical standpoint and a theatrical standpoint.”
In addition, Wolman said retirement will make her “more available” to help her mother, who is in her 90s.
Wolman also plans to do some traveling abroad with her husband.
“We want to go back to Europe and spend a lot more time there,” Wolman said. “Israel also is on our list, and so are Australia and New Zealand.”