Strategic Plan

Historical Society of Cheshire County

Strategic Plan 2022-2027


 “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 2017-2022 strategic plan approved by the Board in July 2017. 

            The Society has experienced solid growth in activities and income over the past five years.  Programming and marketing have expanded and improved in quality.  Collections catalogs have been drastically improved and expanded and have made the collections much more accessible.  Deferred maintenance on our buildings has been completed and the Society purchased and completely renovated and updated Bruder House for educational programming. 

Our success has tested the organization’s capacity to sustain its present growth rate. As laid out in the eight 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.

Progress on the Strategic Plan will be reviewed by the appropriate committees annually and reports made to the board.


Operational Areas


  1. Mission and Policies

      Review the mission statement as a result of the organization’s expanded activity.


  1. Programs

            The Society hosts or sponsors more than 150 programs annually.  The addition of Bruder House, the modification in activities at Wyman Tavern, and programming lessons learned from the pandemic may alter the focus of programming and may add more programs.  It will be essential to plan carefully for these changes and to market programs aggressively.  


Objective 1—Increase interest and public participation in programs and activities, and in utilizing HSCC resources



  • Develop an overall interpretive plan for the organization.  Assess the needs of our three sites, our staff, and the community to create an interpretive plan.
  • Prepare an annual educational plan and schedule.
  • Leverage the public’s interest in specific historical topics in order to create dynamic educational programming. 
  • School Programs: Re-connect with regional schools post-covid and formalize relationships.
  • Address the department’s current staffing needs in relation to the Society’s educational goals as outlined in annual education plan.
  • Heritage Tourism: Find new ways to market the educational offerings of the Society to schools and out-of-town tourists by collaborating with other organizations.
  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: Work with the Society’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee on a review of educational goals.
  • Continue presentation of feature exhibits and other educational programming. Rotate exhibits in HSCC lobby. Study the possibility of hosting exhibits at Bruder House.
  • Increase number and variety of collaborators.
  • Increase use of Bruder House by determining its most effective and attractive use.
  • Continue the expansion of county-wide focus with programming, exhibits, technology, and other collaborative projects


Objective 2—Make HSCC’s headquarters more welcoming by enhancing visitation experiences and encouraging repeat visits.



  • Install a display/exhibit on Cheshire County’s history on the first floor.
  • Make exterior of the facility more welcoming and improve wayfinding guidance.


Objective 3 – Be a state leader in the use of technology for education by incorporating new technology to enhance and increase the reach of educational programing.  Develop a plan to update computer technology on a regular schedule.



  • Assess and acquire technology needs for educational programs.
  • Evaluate HSCC computers to determine needed upgrades and schedule those upgrades over time so that they are affordable for the organization. Review these needs annually. Review and replace peripherals (monitors, keyboards, surge protectors, etc.) as needed when computers are upgraded.
  • Work with the organization’s IT company to evaluate and ensure protection against external threats.
  • Commit to reformatting our online content to make it more engaging.
  • Devote regular staff hours to technology oversight and upgrades.
  1. Facilities


            The Society expanded, reconfigured, and updated its space over the last five years as a means of improving its programs and collections care.  A preventive maintenance plan and accompanying budget must now be developed to ensure the future preservation and use of the Society’s facilities.


Objective 4–Develop a priority plan and budget estimates for work at all HSCC facilities:



  • Develop and implement a preventive maintenance plan for all buildings. (2022)
  • Prepare a prioritized facilities work plan with budget estimates.  (2022)
  • Study and make updates to meet ADA accessibility requirements. (2024)
  • Complete architectural assessment of Wyman Tavern carriage shed and develop a plan for the maintenance and use of the carriage shed.  (2025)


  1. Staffing


The staff has been at the heart of a dramatic increase in the Society’s accomplishments. Our staff maintains current programs and services but does not have adequate capacity for growth.  Our ability to extend and enhance Society programs and operations will be linked to our ability to add new staff and/or more staff hours, specifically in the areas of education, collections and events management.


Objective 5—Develop a staffing plan to encompass the added staffing demands of the Society to assure objectives in this plan are carried out.



  • Develop a master staffing plan to include education, collections and technology. (2023)
  • Study salary levels and create plan for pay increases. (2023)
  • Establish funding for additional staff FTE’s. (2024)
  • Finalize plan for succession for key staff. (2023)
  • Provide additional opportunities for staff to participate in professional development programs to enhance the skills of the staff and maximize staff efficiency. (2023)
  • Create Museum Store training manual for staff and volunteer clerks. (2023)

Objective 6 – Hire expert help for critical specialized activities and increase use of volunteers and interns.



  • Identify tasks that require additional help such as: education, events management and collections. (2023)
  • Formalize collaborative relationships with area schools and colleges to facilitate internships, extended learning opportunities, and other joint ventures. (2024)
  • Continue to foster relationships with volunteers for day-to-day operations and major fundraising events. (2022-2027)
  • Train a team of volunteers to assist with Museum Store sales, merchandising and cleaning and stocking inventory. (2023)


  1. Collections


            The Society continues to study and refine its collections management 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 careful planning and maintenance of storage space. The Society should remain at the forefront of the acquisition and use of new technology to share collections.



Objective 7—Create regular staff position for the management of collections.


  • Develop job description and pay rate for part-time professional staff position. (2023)
  • Establish funding for collections management position. (2025)


Objective 8–Encourage the preservation of important Cheshire County artifacts and manuscripts.



  • Solicit historically important local collections. (2022-2027)
  • Publicize gifts of important collections as a means of encouraging other donations. (2022-2027)
  • Encourage the endowment of collections when received. (2022-2027)
  • Support other historical institutions in their preservation efforts. (2022-2027)

Objective 9—Study and refine the collections of the Society.  Expand use of digitization and update cataloging in order to maximize efficiency, preservation, and access to collections



  • Continue and maintain the collections deaccessioning process. (2025)
  • Upgrade and maintain technology needs to ensure the preservation and accessibility of the collections. 2024)
  • Continue the placement of catalogs, finding aids and digitized collections on the internet to improve accessibility of HSCC collections. (2022-2027)
  • Develop a plan to add to HSCC collections, including areas of need and importance so that collections may be augmented carefully and thoughtfully. This plan will include coordination with the needs of the education program. It will also be coordinated with different groups within the community—especially those that have been traditionally underserved. (2025)
  • Seek a grant to hire a textiles expert to evaluate and appraise the textile collections. Develop a dedicated, climate-controlled space to store the textile collection. (2026)
  • Develop a plan for addition to and use of education collection. Coordinate with the education director to identify needs. (2023)
  • Prepare annual report on use of the collection (2023-2027)


  1. Marketing and Museum Store


The Society’s marketing has expanded substantially over the last five years.  The organization must continue that expansion, especially through the use of up-to-date technology and social media upgrades.

The Museum Store is in a new location in the facility and has become an important source of income and exposure for the Society.  To maintain recent growth and development, the organization must maintain up-to-date technology and refinement of offerings within the store operation.  


Objective 10 – Expand and refine traditional outreach procedures



  • Promote rental availability through ads, rack cards, and newsletter.
  • Develop promotional material for walking tours.
  • Update press release contact list and online calendar listing.
  • Review all marketing printed materials to maintain fresh look.
  • Expand geographic reach and diversity of our audience.
  • Develop and budget for annual marketing calendar.
  • Clarify the Museum’s brand to better engage the community, potential partners, and prospective sponsors
  • Acquire brand clothing for staff, such as Fleece vests, T-shirts, etc.

Objective 11 – Remain at the forefront in the use of technology for marketing



  • Continue to capture emails at online and live events.
  • Install television in lobby to showcase upcoming events and brief historic videos.
  • Create new support page on website
  • Social media presence at events.
  • Encourage Trustees to become Social Media & Email Ambassadors.
  • Manage up to date hashtag # database.
  • Continue to use Trello, Hootsuite, Bitly and Canva.
  • Implement more video into social media.
  • Organize and develop Monadnock Moments podcast.

Objective 12 – Enhance Museum Store offerings, atmosphere, procedures, and marketing 



  • Improve store signage. (2023)
  • Barcode each item in the shop. (2023)
  • Increase product lines to include a Monadnock region line of giftware.
  • Create new marketing video featuring new product lines. (2022)
  • Add new items to inventory regularly. (2022-2027)
  • Create marketing materials to accompany all online purchases.
  • Obtain stickers for bags at check out with store information and website.
  • Promote online store via newsletter, ads and more. (2022)
  • Participate in Museum Store Sunday in November. (2022)
  • Continue to develop partnerships with local craft persons.
  • Create a program series with Education department to highlight store vendors. (2023)
  • Find an outlet for remainder books. (2024)
  • Create Museum Store marketing plan and budget. (2022-2027)


  1. Finance and Development


             The Society must develop a financial plan to successfully enhance programming, to support increased staffing needs, and to preserve facilities and encourage their use.  The organization must increase annual income to support these areas of need.  The professional Development Assessment completed in 2021 will be employed to assist with these tasks.


Objective 13—Increase income through membership development, annual contributions, and planned gifts



  • Increase Society budget by $100,000 to $150,000 during the next five years, which would allow for competitive wages for all and adequate staffing levels. Increase funding income as follows: 2023 – $20,000, 2024 – $21,000, 2025 – $22,000, 2026 – $23,000, 2027 – $24,000
  • Offset natural attrition of older members by adding 100 younger members. Add 20 under 30-year-old members per year.
  • Complete regular membership drives. (2022-2027)
  • Double sponsorship income from $20,000 to $40,000. Add $4,000 per year.
  • Promote leadership circle and recognition event. Grow the Leadership Circle from 19 individuals to 70 individuals. (2023-2024)
  • Redesign the support section of the website to make it simpler, more user-friendly. (2023)
  • Simplify on-line donation pages and make them easier to navigate. (2023)
  • Solicit board members for legacy society and leadership circle. (2023, 2025)
  • Conduct 15 or more major donor visits annually, making the case for higher annual giving. (2022-2027)
  • Energize planned giving and legacy society efforts. Grow the David R. Proper Legacy Society from 6 members to 25 members. Solicit board – 2023; major donors – 2024; general membership – 2025.
  • Raise $1 million for a special purpose in Alan’s honor in connection with his retirement. (2024)
  • Determine giving level at which donors automatically become members. (2024)
  • Develop process of engagement that creates a pipeline from first-time visitor to major donor. (2023)
  • Promote planned giving to individuals who have given $100+ for 15 years – invite them to join Proper Society. (2026)
  • Regularly publish Newsletter articles about ways to give. (2022-2027)
  • Staff and Trustees continue to reach out to families and organizations. (2022-2027)
  • Continue to create an annual Development Plan (2022-2027).
  • Increase Society membership in other Cheshire County towns by 25% to equal Keene membership. (2027)

Objective 14—Increase income and support from ancillary HSCC sources


Fundraising events strategies:

  • Prepare report on the return on investment for these events. (2022)
  • Double Brew Fest income while remaining at Wyman Tavern. (2027)
  • Study the level of support in the community and future viability of the Society’s three annual fundraising events. (2022-2027)


Rental strategies:

  • Increase outside group utilization of our space.
  • Increase advertisements, marketing and testimonials from rentals. (2023)
  • Trustees to invite personal contacts to use our facility. (2024)


  • Explore opportunities for increasing revenue from programs. Ask for financial support for events at events, fees for programming. (2023)


Objective 15—Increase income from grants and foundations



  • Identify foundations whose giving priorities mesh with HSCC programs and mission. (2023)
  • Identify HSCC programs and priorities that could become the focus of a directed grant request. (2022-2027)
  • Establish and make available a list of past grants received and grant requests in progress. (2022)
  • Identify Trustees and HSCC friends who have contacts with organizations that could support the Society. (2024)
  • Determine initiative for major NEH or IMLS grant. (2025)