August 2015 Newsletter

President's Message


Our CCHS Bylaws have been revised to include the downsizing of the Board as voted on at our May conference. Copies are available in hard copy or via email by special request through Arrowhead Management (contact us). It has taken us a year to finalize this much needed revision. Now on to bigger and better things! Our strategic planning meeting this month at Harris Ranch will include such topics as:

  • Where do we want to be in 2020?
  • Achieving a membership of 1000 or more.
  • How can we make the best use of Arrowhead Management?

Plus over 25 other issues that we need to resolve to make the CCHS the best it can be.

At our Board meeting in October we should have most of these issues on the way to resolution or in committee. The Board meetings are open to all CCHS members, so plan on attending to see what the future will look like for the CCHS. Starting with the February Symposium next year, an agenda via email will be available in advance for all the new Board members. This way they will be prepared to actively engage in the conversation and to make other suggestions and comments before the meeting.

A list of Board members will be available soon. Please contact the Regional Vice President in your area to express any concerns or ideas. He or she will relay them to the Combined Regional Vice President for action at our next Board meeting.

If you need some immediate action please contact the Executive Committee as we meet each and every month. These meetings have been so beneficial to the Conference. We resolve many issues that if left to our 3 main scheduled meetings a year, would make them unwieldy, consuming a great deal of time. This leaves more time for fun things to see and do at our Symposiums for everyone, including the EC members.

I look forward to updating you about our Board's progress at the Fall Symposium, October 15-17!

Thank you,


John Lenau
Conference of California Historical Societies
(760) 249-4650

Second Vice President's Message

Finding the past. Finding the future.

History is on the cutting edge. And the Conference of California Historical Societies is too...NOT!

Your new Board of Directors is heading to the land of beef for a one day no-holds-barred brainstorming session at Harris Ranch near Coalinga in Fresno County on Saturday, Aug. 29. You can help by giving us your ideas on what can be done. Call it "Vision 2020" if you will. Where are we going to be in five years?

“I am convinced that if (the CCHS) did not exist it would have to be invented.”
—H. Lee McCumber, 1979

Both McCumber (1911-1994) and his wife, Norma, (1921-2012), avid stamp collectors, served well as presidents of the Congress of History of San Diego and Imperial Counties, and of the CCHS. Lee McCumber noted that the CCHS in its first quarter century grew from a handful of members to 592 combined organization and associate members.

Alas, we currently have around 400 members, although we are still doing many of the great things we were doing in the late 1970s (See The California Historian, Vol. 59:1-2, 2014 for details). As I see it, one of the major difficulties has always been adequately financing the administrative arm of the CCHS. See the same 2014 issue for Mary Lou Lyon’s reprint of her excellent account of our early history and the establishment of the Regional Vice Presidents. That small group of founders divided the state into 12 regions, though only seven or eight positions were filled at first. By the end of year one, there were 15 regions. The regions covered only 57 of the 58 counties. El Dorado County, one of the state’s original 27 counties and where James Marshall made his historic gold discovery in 1848 was not included. I don’t know when we grew to 40 regions, but it may explain why El Dorado County is a one county region (No. 38) today.

In my own small county of neighboring Placer County, historical groups, museums and historical markers are being proposed at a rapid rate with a myriad of questions about how to do it. Thus, like H. Lee McCumber, I too am convinced there is a manifest need for such an organization as ours.

Michael Otten
2nd Vice President
Conference of California Historical Societies
(530) 888-7837

What is the Clio?


Clio is an educational website and mobile application that guides the public to thousands of historical and cultural sites throughout the United States. Built by scholars for public benefit, each entry includes a concise summary and useful information about a historical site, museum, monument, landmark, or other site of cultural or historical significance. In addition, “time capsule” entries allow users to learn about historical events that occurred around them. Each entry offers turn-by-turn directions as well as links to relevant books, articles, videos, primary sources, and credible websites. Watch this video to learn more!

Clio offers a compelling intellectual challenge as professional historians work with local history experts to create and vet entries in an open digital environment. Ambitious in scope, Clio allows scholars and their students to publish humanities scholarship using an innovative digital format that will instantly reach a broad audience in ways that cannot be replicated by traditional forms of publishing. Clio's creators believe that there is something powerful that occurs when our sense of the past connects with our sense of place - they hope that you will use Clio to connect with the history and culture that surrounds you.  Click here to find out more!

CCHS Regional Membership & Skills Development Workshop


Join local historical society board members and staff to share best practices and learn how to retain and increase membership!

When: October 24, 2015 at 8:30 am – 4:00 pm

Location: Hillcrest Retirement Community
2705 Mountain View Dr., La Verne, CA 91750
$25 / Member, $35 / Non-Member
Lunch included. 

Learn more.

2015 Fall Symposium: Redding, CA

Hosted by Shasta Historical Society
October 15-17, 2015

Join us for the CCHS Fall Symposium, an unparalleled opportunity to explore the incredible natural, architectural and historical wonders of Shasta County!  Program highlights include behind the scenes access to many of Redding’s historic landmarks with a tour from key personnel at each location, a curator led tour of Redding’s famous Turtle Bay Exploration Park, a peek into historic Fort Crook and a Ranger led tour of United States’ “Eighth Wonder of the World”:  Burney Falls.  New this Symposium is the addition of a “Nuts & Bolts” workshop, so you’ll leave not only inspired by the incredible places you’ve seen but also empowered to improve the operations of your local historical society at home.  

Don’t miss this opportunity to see great historic sites, network with knowledgeable fellow historians and take back effective strategies for your historical society!  Learn more.

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Conference of California Historical Societies
Bringing together California's historical community to share California's heritage, learn from one another and strengthen our communities.