Westport Historical Society
The last eight years have been a time of great transformation for the Westport Historical Society. Following the purchase of the Handy House, the WHS undertook a major fundraising campaign, and has completed structural repairs at the Handy House, a new parking area, and a recently constructed “barn”. Not only did these projects reinvigorate the WHS, they also initiated significant organizational change.
With the successful completion of major projects at the Handy House, and having made progress towards financial sustainability through a combination of membership dues, annual appeal, grants and special events, the Board recognized a need to address some long-standing issues, to build on its strengths and to meet some new challenges. With the understanding that organizational priorities and needs can change quickly and in surprising ways, the Board elected to formulate an action plan for the next three years.
The strategic planning process took place over several months from December 2017 to July 2018. Members of the strategic planning committee included Breck Arnzen, Buzzy Baron, Yvonne Barr, Carol Bonnar, Tony Connors, Jenny O’Neill, and Emily Sutton. At the beginning of this process, the Board reconfirmed that its current mission statement accurately reflects the vision of the organization.
“The mission of the Westport Historical Society is to engage the public in the exploration of the town’s rich history and culture, to inspire a spirit of discovery through educational programs and encourage active participation in the preservation and interpretation of our past. The Society collects and shares this history. Its goal is to foster the imaginative process of connecting to the past, making it relevant to our present and vital to the future of our community.”
The strategic plan focuses on four goals:
- Define the best use of the Bell School
- Improve collections storage and preservation
- Ensure ongoing relevance to our community
- Build organizational capacity
The strategic plan was adopted by the Board on July 16, 2018.