Historical Society of Cheshire County
Strategic Plan 2012-2017
Adopted March 19, 2012
“The mission of the Historical Society is to collect, preserve and communicate the history of Cheshire County.”
The Trustees of the Historical Society of Cheshire County (the Society) are adopting this five year plan as an update and continuation document to the 2007-2012 strategic plan approved by the Board in September 2007. This plan results from more than a year of study and discussions that included a Wyman Tavern long range plan, a trustee survey and retreat, and the deliberations of a broadly representative Legacy 250 Committee that was formed to celebrate the Tavern’s 250th anniversary.
The Historical Society of Cheshire County has experienced solid growth over the past five years. Our success has tested our capacity to sustain our present growth rate. As laid out in the five operational areas below this plan supports a commitment toward improved programming and services, sound management of our facilities, and long term fiscal health of the organization.
The addition of a Director of Education to the staff in 2002 resulted in a steady increase in the number of programs offered to the Cheshire County community at the Ball Mansion and the Wyman Tavern.
As part of the Society’s vision, in November of 2009 Trustees approved a long range plan for the Wyman Tavern that would greatly increase the utilization of the Wyman Tavern to carry out our mission. That plan transitions the Wyman Tavern from a period house museum into a “Cultural Heritage Center,” that would substantially expand the Society’s educational programs, events and activities.
Objective 1—Increase interest and public participation in HSCC programs, activities, and resources
- Develop and implement a 5 year Marketing and Communications Plan to promote awareness, involvement, membership and philanthropy
- Introduce E-newsletters and enhanced Website
- Develop a “new look” and distribution for print newsletters
- Continue presentation of feature exhibits and other educational programming
Objective 2—Make HSCC’s headquarters more welcoming by enhancing visitation experiences, encouraging repeat visits, and improving efficiency of functions.
- Expand the Museum Store space and inventory for a richer shopping experience.
- Install a display/exhibit on Cheshire County’s history in the first floor hallway
- Improve and diversify downstairs permanent museum display
- Identify space and fixture needs for the store, exhibits, collections, and offices.
Objective 3—Transform the Wyman Tavern property from a period house museum into a Cultural Heritage Center
- Carry out 2009 Wyman Tavern Long Range Plan
The Society’s vision is to expand, reconfigure, update and provide more useful and desirable space at both campuses as programs grow and usage expands.
The Historical Society of Cheshire County has been successful in keeping its facilities in a reasonably stable condition. However, a professional inspection of the Wyman Tavern in 2010 and review of the Ball Mansion by the Facilities Committee have identified deferred maintenance of both buildings that must be addressed.
Objective 4–Develop a priority plan and budget estimates for work at the Ball Mansion:
- Conduct thorough building inspection
- Complete deferred maintenance
- Develop plans and cost estimates for improvements
- Develop a plan for the addition of 2500 square feet of collection storage space
Objective 5–Develop and implement a plan and budget estimates to convert Wyman Tavern into a Cultural Heritage Center
- Address deferred maintenance based on 2010 inspection report
- Create architectural and site plans with cost estimates during 2012
- Develop Schedule and Implementation Plan for building and site modifications
The staff has been at the heart of a dramatic increase in all the Society’s accomplishments. Our staff maintains current programs and services, but does not have extra capacity for growth. Our ability to extend Society programs will be linked to our ability to add staff hours.
Objective 6—Expand hours and skills of staff to accomplish growth objectives in this plan
- Increase Director of Operations position to full time
- Add staff as needs and resources become identified and prioritized
- Establish funding for additional staff FTE’s
- Seek and utilize professional development support to increase staff efficiency (i.e., better software, staff training)
Objective 7—Hire expert help for critical specialized activities and increase use of volunteers and interns.
- Identify tasks that require additional help such as: cataloguing; grant writing, information technology, website design, and deaccessioning.
- Build collaborative relationships with area schools and colleges to facilitate internships and other joint ventures.
The Society continues to study and refine its collections, and reorganize its current storage to more effectively meet its mission. This refinement includes a focused solicitation of appropriate and important Cheshire County collections. Growth of our collections will require more storage and display space.
Objective 8—Encourage the preservation of important Cheshire County collections
- Solicit historically important local collections
- Publicize gifts of important collections as a means of encouraging other donations
- Encourage the endowment of collections when received
- Support other historical institutions in their preservation efforts
- Continue to explore a possible partnership with other Cheshire County collections, including the possibility of an Industrial Heritage Museum
Objective 9—Study and refine the collections of the Society. Improve collections storage and update cataloging in order to maximize efficiency, preservation, and access to collections
- Complete study of all the Historical Society’s collections by 2013 and propose refinement and transfer of items that do not fit the mission of the organization
- Complete the reorganization of collection storage areas by 2013
- Upgrade shelving and archival storage units
- Complete reclassification and computerization of the library catalog by 2013
- Undertake a three year project (2013-2015) to complete and computerize the cataloging of the manuscript collections
- Undertake digitization of photograph collections
- Improve and complete the Historical Society’s artifact catalog
- Place catalogs and finding aids on the internet to improve accessibility of the Historical Society’s collections
- Develop plan by 2014 to insure the ongoing cataloging and accessibility of new collections
E. Finance and Development
Over the last five years the Society has accomplished annual increases in membership, gifts, contributions, and museum sales. While this accomplishment is encouraging, Historical Society of Cheshire County must increase annual income to meet current needs.
This five year plan contains exciting plans for growth that will require increased revenue and capital acquisition. More than 20 years ago the Society conducted a major community canvass that set the stage for the substantial growth that has occurred since that time. Our stewardship of the Society’s hopes and dreams going forward point to the need for a new capital fund drive.
Objective 10—Increase income through membership development, annual contributions, and planned gifts
- Expand and strengthen Development Committee
- Create a development plan with specific membership and dollar goals.
- Revise and modify this plan annually
- With the help of consultants, create and promote a planned giving policy.
- Acquire mailing lists from multiple groups
- Staff and Trustees continue to reach out to families and organizations
- Expand the list of businesses and institutions to reach out to
- Review and revise gifts policy
Objective 11—Increase income from ancillary HSCC sources
Fundraising events strategies:
- Expand and strengthen the Auction Committee
- Introduce a new annual signature event
- Use the Wyman Tavern anniversary to generate increased gifts
Museum Store strategies:
- Create and budget a yearly marketing plan
- Redesign or relocate and design a new museum store
- Increase outside group utilization of our space
- Increase advertisements, marketing and testimonials from rentals
- Trustees to invite personal contacts to use our facility.
- Explore opportunities for increasing revenue from programs
Objective 12—Increase income from grants and foundations
- Identify foundations whose giving priorities mesh with HSCC programs and mission
- Identify HSCC programs and priorities that could become the focus of a directed grant request
- Establish a relationship with the Cheshire County Grant Support specialist
- Establish and make available a list of past grants received and grant requests in progress
- Identify Trustees and HSCC friends who have contacts with organizations that could support the Society
Objective 13—Design, staff, promote, and launch a capital fund drive—Legacy 250
- Collect and collate figures for the amount of capital required to put the Society on a sound financial footing for the next 20 years
- Develop and initiate a timeline to accomplish a fund drive:
– Capital fund drive feasibility study (2012?)
– Action plan to implement feasibility study recommendation (2013?)
– Begin pre-campaign phase of requests (2014?)
– Launch public gift campaign (2015?)
- Research and acquire new fundraising software
- Review other county businesses and institutions that have a long history in the region and reach out to them to gauge their interest to partner with us.
- Maintain and expand dialog with other regional Historical Societies.