Annual Appeal 2018

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Paradoxically, preserving the past requires making plans for the future!

Because of the support that so many of you regularly provide through our Annual Appeal, we have felt enabled this year to thoughtfully develop such plans for the WHS.  With the successful completion of major projects at the Handy House, we recognized this past year that it was time to address some long-standing issues concerning the Bell School and collections, to build on our strengths, and to meet some new challenges. We are excited to share some of the questions that drive our strategic plan for the next three years and we hope that you will consider a donation to the annual fund to support our efforts:

What is the best use of the Bell Schoolhouse?  As our year-round headquarters, the Bell School is a conspicuous symbol of the WHS. Its location at the Head of Westport is advantageous and its interior spaces offer great potential for meeting the current needs of the Historical Society for office, exhibition and collections storage. We will review the existing use of space within the Bell School, re-imagine interpretative opportunities and prioritize structural repairs.

Can we expand and improve storage space dedicated to the preservation of our collections?  Fortunately, much of the collection is catalogued and accessible through an online database, and now priority must be given to the physical conditions in which the collection is stored. Our goal includes the creation of a long-term storage plan for the collection and addressing preservation needs of endangered and underutilized collections.

Can we ensure ongoing relevance to our community?  We are known for our active, year-round schedule of lectures, exhibitions, tours, in-school programs and annual events such as the Artisan Fair. However, to ensure our ongoing relevance, the WHS must strive to broaden its audience, expand visibility and leverage the Handy House to its full extent. A new initiative, exploring the Wampanoag heritage of Westport, is already underway with programming to begin in 2019. This will be bolstered by diversification of interpretive techniques, community outreach and by developing a marketing strategy to attract visitors to the Handy House.

Can we strengthen the organizational structure of the Historical Society to meet future needs?  The people (board, staff, committees, and volunteers) who will implement this plan must be adequately supported. There is a need to involve a larger, more diverse group of individuals at all levels of the organization. We will put in place an organizational succession plan, strengthen committees, and, most importantly, provide additional support for the Executive Director by hiring a part-time administrative assistant.

Your gift to this year’s Annual Appeal will continue to move us towards the future! We welcome your response to the strategic plan and encourage you to read the full version on our website. We remain deeply grateful for your on-going support of the WHS. If you are a new donor, please understand that your participation is critical to our success. Donations can be made securely at:

Thank you,


Donate by mailing a check using this form. Please mail to:

Westport Historical Society PO Box N188 Westport MA 02790:

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