McKnight Consulting’s Community Character Project was founded in 2007 to look at the past to inform the present through an array of Public History & Character Development/Etiquette Projects designed to educate and inspire people of all ages.


Melinda Terpening McKnight grew up in Port Ewen, NY, a hamlet on the west bank of the Hudson River.  As the 14th generation in her family to live in the Town of Esopus, she heard stories about the people, places and events of the past.  Her strong sense of place and appreciation of the past inspired her to pursue a career in public history.

During Ms McKnight’s two decades spent in the field of Public History, she gained experience in: research, exhibit development, interpretive plans, organizational development, community relations, festival/event/program development, volunteer recruitment, information literacy, tour guide/hospitality training and more. She held the positions of Executive Director, Program Manager, Curator and Coordinator in a number of museums throughout the Hudson Valley. For two grant cycles she served as a Peer Reviewer for the Institute of Museum & Library Services grants program to museums and historic sites.  She has curated multi-media exhibitions, researched and developed interactive programs, served as the representative for the Hurley on the Central Catskills Collaborative’s Route 28 NYS Scenic Byway project.

Believing that the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose,  Melinda has many years of experience teaching as well as providing training sessions, workshops and seminars on a wide array of topics such as character education and information literacy.  Trained in the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project, Nonviolent Communication and Faithwalking, she has the skills to be effective in the classroom, the workplace and with people of all backgrounds.

She utilized her training in the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project in Business, Faith-based Communities, Nonprofit Organizations, Individuals & Families.  She provided a twelve-week, Virtues Project based class at a medium security New York State Correctional Facility and initiated a conversation with the NYS Governor’s Office about including The Virtues Project in the resources provided to the Dignity for All Students Act District Coordinators.

She earned her A.S. degree in Journalism from Ulster County Community College, B.A. in English with a minor in Rhetoric & Communication from the University at Albany and an M.A. in Public History from the University at Albany. Melinda McKnight is a researcher, writer, presenter and genealogist. She currently holds the position of Vice President in the family-owned company, Energy Conservation Specialists, located in Port Ewen and also serves as the President of Klyne Esopus Historical Society Museum (where her father, Daniel P Terpening, held the position of the first President).

Melinda lives with her husband, Bill, their toy poodles, Kaya & Luna, and cat, Emma in West Hurley, New York.