From the Carriage House by George E. Deutsch, Executive Director
Let me start with the Last actions as my First topic.
At our November 19 meeting, the Board adopted a name change for the organization. While our legal name, first incorporated in 1903, will remain the same, we are beginning to do business as the Hagen History Center (HHC). Hopefully, this will be a more inviting modern name for the public to encounter. As of this writing, we haven’t worked out all the details, such as check writing, how the name change will affect the Battles properties, etc. But you’ll see more of HHC, and less of ECHS in the future.
The Board also adopted an updated Mission Statement and Vision:
The Hagen History Center engages and inspires a diverse audience by exhibiting links to the past, understanding the present and guidance for the future, while preserving the history of Erie County, Northwestern Pennsylvania and our national heritage.
The HHC engages the community through dynamic educational programs, inspiring exhibits, community building programs and relevant publications. We preserve collections representing over 200 years of our history. Our archives and collections serve as a comprehensive and accessible resource for researchers, educators, students, and the public.
I am very pleased to have hired three new employees this year. Amanda Rockwood, Sara Little and Shelby Graml are all dynamic, bright and hard-working women who have added much to our team. As we grow in 2020, watch for even more new staff.
It is hard to believe that we cut the ribbon opening the Wood-Morrison House just last February, broke ground on March 1 for the new exhibit building and began refurbishing our 1838 barn (now our maintenance center) during the spring. We are now closing that phase of our growth. I, only half-way, kid my friends that I wear my construction hat much more than my history hat. What’s next? As you will see elsewhere in the newsletter, our new exhibit planning is well underway with the build-out to begin this winter. Also, we’re not quite finished with new buildings. Sometime next year, depending on fundraising, we will begin work on a 5000 sq. ft. addition to the Archives Building. This will become climate-controlled storage for our 3-D artifacts, now fully accessed and cataloged. Additionally, the building will include over 2000 additional sq. ft. for future exhibit space.
We have also completed work on our Strategic, Master and Educational plans. The latter includes multiple lesson plans to support the teaching of local history to all grade levels in our schools. Those lesson plans will be posted on our website (eriehistory.org) for teachers to use free of charge.
Financially we are in sound shape. We are only building what we can pay for and are fundraising for future growth. One of the key misconceptions that people have is that when they see our construction, they assume we are flush with funds. I tell people that we have two buckets. One for construction and exhibits, and the other for operations. That last bucket is the one we need to keep filling. Operations consist of salaries, educational activities, the preservation of our collections, utilities, insurance, research facilities and public events. It is YOUR membership, other special and annual giving, along with other forms of fundraising that allows us to keep the doors open and carry out our mission.
Finally, with the new name, we are working on a new logo and all that goes with an information campaign to promote our growing mission and changing identity. You will see the results in our next newsletter.
Hoping you have a great holiday season!