Historical Society of Cheshire County
Strategic Plan 2017-2022
“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 2012-2017 strategic plan approved by the Board in April 2012.
The Society has experienced solid growth over the past five years. Programming, attendance and marketing have expanded and improved in quality. Collections catalogs have been drastically improved and have made the collections much more accessible. Deferred maintenance on our buildings has been addressed and the Society has an agreement to add to its campus with the purchase of Bruder House. A full-time development director is on staff and a $2.4 million capital campaign has been successfully completed.
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.
- Mission and Policies
Review the mission statement as a result of the organization’s expanded mission.
Complete an organizational level strategic planning and visioning process.
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. The Society now hosts or sponsors more than 150 programs annually.
The introduction of a Cultural Heritage Center will alter the focus of programming and will probably add more programming. It will be essential to plan carefully for these changes and to market programs aggressively.
Objective 1—Increase interest in and public participation in programs and activities, and in utilizing HSCC resources
- Develop and implement a five-year Marketing and Communications Plan to promote awareness, involvement, membership and philanthropy
- Define “Cultural Heritage Center”
- Develop an overall interpretive plan for the organization. Interpretive planning is a decision-making process that blends management needs and resource considerations with visitor needs and desires to determine the most effective way to communicate our message to our audience.
- Continue presentation of feature exhibits and other educational programming
- Increase number and variety of collaborators
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 permanent museum display
- Study and improve signage
- Implement change and additions to spaces and fixtures for the store, exhibits, collections, and offices.
Objective 3—Finalize the Cultural Heritage Center campus
- Update the 2009 Wyman Tavern Long Range Plan into a Cultural Heritage Center campus plan.
- Develop and implement a Cultural Heritage Center interpretive plan
- Define “sense of place.”
The Society’s vision is to expand, reconfigure, update and provide more useful and desirable space in each of the Society’s facilities as programs grow and usage expands.
HSCC has been successful in keeping its facilities in a reasonably stable condition. Deferred maintenance has been addressed and 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:
- Complete deferred maintenance as outlined in the Society’s facilities master plan of 2013.
- Develop and implement a preventive maintenance plan for all buildings
- Study and develop a plan for the maintenance and use of the Wyman Tavern carriage shed
- Complete space needs assessment for Jonathan Daniels Center for Social Responsibility and develop the space
- Develop an agreement between the Society and the Jonathan Daniels Center advisory committee concerning the use of the space
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 adequate capacity for growth. Our ability to extend Society programs will be linked to our ability to add staff hours, specifically in the areas of education, collections and events.
Objective 5—Develop a staffing plan to encompass the added staffing demands of the Cultural Heritage Center to assure objectives in this plan are carried out.
- Develop a master staffing plan to include programs, facilities and philanthropic or financial development
- Establish funding for additional staff FTE’s
- Provide additional opportunities for staff to participate in professional development programs in order to enhance the professional skills of the staff and maximize staff efficiency.
- Develop plan for succession for key staff
Objective 6 – Hire expert help for critical specialized activities and increase use of volunteers and interns.
- Identify tasks that require additional help such as: grant writing and other development activities, special events, Cultural Heritage Center, collections.
- Formalize collaborative relationships with area schools and colleges to facilitate internships and other joint ventures.
- Develop and implement plan for a relationship with groups outside the Historical Society (ie: Granite State Ambassadors, Jonathan Daniels Center advisory committee, town historical societies).
The Society continues to study and refine its collections, and reorganize its 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 careful planning and maintenance of storage space.
Objective 7—Encourage the preservation of important Cheshire County collections
- Develop procedures to accept, store and catalog 21st century collection formats
- 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 8—Study and refine the collections of the Society. Improve collections storage and update cataloging in order to maximize efficiency, preservation, and access to collections
- Finalize digitization of photograph collections
- Complete the HSCC artifact computer catalog
- Complete the collections deaccessioning process
- Review collection development policy
- Develop a plan to add to HSCC collections, including areas of need and importance.
- Prepare a procedure manual for cataloging
- Complete a study and refinement of the textile collections
- Complete the reorganization of collection storage areas.
- Upgrade shelving and archival storage units
- Develop a plan for addition to and use of education collection
- Upgrade and maintain technology needs to ensure the preservation and accessibility of digital collections
- Finalize the placement of catalogs and finding aids on the internet to improve accessibility of HSCC collections
- Finance and Development
The Society has undertaken a successful capital campaign. While this accomplishment is very encouraging, HSCC now needs a financial plan to successfully carry out the mission related to that plan. The organization must increase annual income to support staffing, programming and facilities.
Objective 9—Increase income through membership development, annual contributions, and planned gifts
- Develop a clear policy on the purpose and benefits of membership
- Create a development plan with specific membership and dollar goals.
- Revise and modify this plan annually
- Develop relationships with members
- Survey members in an effort to determine what inspires them to attend or be involved in the Society. Why are they members?
- Define membership benefits and reward members; enhance offerings for members.
- Determine giving level at which donors automatically become members
- Encourage the fact that membership is an honor because it supports the preservation of local history
- Update and purge membership list
- Complete regular membership drives
- Increase individual donations and improve donor relations
- Staff and Trustees continue to reach out to families and organizations
- Review and update gifts policy
- Review and update planned giving program
Objective 10—Increase income and support from ancillary HSCC sources
Fundraising events strategies:
- Study the level of support in the community, return on investment and future viability of the Society’s three annual fundraising events.
Museum Store strategies:
- Create and budget a yearly marketing plan
- Study potential shop partnerships (local craftspeople, League of NH Craftsmen)
- 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. Ask for financial support for events at events.
Increase annual volunteer hours to 4000.
Study if or when volunteers should be made members
Develop a formal recognition plan for volunteers
Objective 11—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
- Strengthen relationships with grant managers for the city, county and NH Charitable foundation
- 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
- 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