Janeen Trevillyan

Meet Janeen Trevillyan.  Janeen is the President of the Sedona Historical Society Board and The Historian of the Sedona Heritage Museum.


Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?

A: I grew up always appreciating family history but worked for a living. Hence, when I got here to Sedona, and I was retired. I happened to see a posting in the Red Rock News that the city had an opening with the Historic Preservation Commission. And I thought it would be interesting since I like old buildings, architecture, and history of places. I didn’t know anything about my new town, nor it’s history. When I told the Sedona Historical Society and the Sedona Heritage Museum of my plight, their eyes got big! I’ve been there for almost 21 years now.

Q: What is one thing you wish you learned earlier in your life?

A: There are two things. I thought I appreciated history until I became more involved in preserving history. I realized so much has already been lost. That goes for my own family history. I wish I had started earlier with the appreciation for history and the people. The other might be my career path in corporate America. It’s been a grind. Learning kindness at the beginning of my life regarding how far the little things can take you versus getting so caught up in the moment. Maybe it’s a learning perspective.

Q: How long have you lived in Sedona, and what do you like most about it?

A: I’ve lived here for about 21 years now. I like this small town. I grew up in the country until I moved to a bigger city. Later, we came back to Arizona. I love running into people that I know. I have a little grand-niece whose 11 now and lives down in Mesa. Whenever they come up, we go to the grocery store, the toy store, and always run into somebody I know, even on the trails. My niece looks up at me and says, “You’re famous! You know everybody.”

Q: What one piece of advice changed your life?

A: There’s a lot of advice that I never listen to, ha-ha. Right now, I’m trying to slow down and smell the roses, slow down and be more in the moment. I’m a checklist person, so that’s a hard thing to do.

Q: Who is one interesting person you’ve met here in Sedona?

A: There are so many people with so many backgrounds. When I first became involved with the museum, I wanted to learn about its history. I met with a historian who was born and raised in Sedona. Her parents and grandparents were pioneers arriving in the 1880s or 1890s, and her name was Edith Smith Denton. She took me under her wing and started telling me her personal stories and her slant on what is history, what is important about history. I have to give her credit for being at the right place at the right time to light my fire -in a good way.

Q: When family or friends come to visit, where do you take them?

A: I have to take them to the Sedona Heritage Museum. It occupies my time, my passion, and everybody (family and friends) have to hear about what is happening, the trials and tribulations as well as the successes. It is a place where times stands still. It is not a cold hard white box museum. People can relate, especially people my age, or my parent’s generation. We all have the same background; there’s so much commonality – whether in Sedona or anywhere else in the country.

I am lucky enough that my husband and I live on Oak Creek. All we have to do is walk out the back door to get to the creek. All you hear is rushing water; you can’t hear the town noise. Oak Creek is so rare because of having a water source in the Arizona desert.

Q: If you had an opportunity to be any age, what age would that be and why?

A: There’s a moment in time of every period of your life where something was really special or just perfect. I certainly don’t appreciate getting older because it’s harder to bend down, I have more gray hair, and it’s harder to stay awake until midnight when I want to. I don’t feel like my brain is particularly off yet. Geez! I love to be 35 again, but what I was doing then wasn’t the fun part of my life. So there’s a fun and not fun part of any moment in time, and you have to appreciate it all.

Q: How would your closest friend describe you?

A: Probably still not enjoying retirement, and again not doing enough fun stuff. Fun, for me, is accomplishing things. I used to belong to several professional women’s organizations, and I would laugh at my friends when we were totally into something. I would say, ‘Well, we have a defective gene, and that defective gene drives us to join things and not give up.”

Q: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

A: Hopefully, I’m a relatively good member of the family – a good sister, good daughter, good wife. Having been part of the “good” family, if you will, stay close to those people through thick and thin.

Q: Choosing anyone – who would you love to have lunch with and why?

A: I will say, Eleanor Roosevelt. From what I know and understand about her, she lived her traditional life in a very non-traditional way or vice versa. I am not exactly sure how to peg that yet either. I think she had perspective, a bigger picture, of a women’s place in the world.

Q: Is there one thing in your life that has a sense of meaning for you?

A: I have to say family, again. When you start losing members of the family, you realized what you missed or miss, so there’s a lot of meaning to those relationships. It makes me think, “I am this way because.. or I do this now because”.

Q: What one word is part of your legacy?

A: She put in the effort.

From the interview with Jonelle Klein

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