February 2015 Newsletter

President's Message  


Our Symposium this month is in Lompoc on the 26-28 (hope you are attending).  Our Board Meeting at the event will be busy with proposals. Some proposals deal with the revision of our bylaws, some are items for the betterment of the CCHS. As for the bylaw proposals, the Board will have the ability to vote in favor or not. They will also have the ability to amend the proposals. That being said, the next step in the process will be to send the bylaw proposals/motions to vote at the Annual Membership Meeting at the June Annual Meeting. The Membership only has a vote when the bylaws are being amended. I thought about having a special called Membership Meeting at our February Symposium. However, I was reminded that we would need to send out a 30 day notice via snail mail to ALL CCHS members, not just an email. I asked Arrowhead Management (AM) what the cost of such a mailing would be with printing and postage for +/-500 members: it would cost +/-$300. I knew we had time (30 days), but thought twice about the cost verses the timing. If a Special Called Membership Meeting is necessary in the future, then we could insert the notice with our registration packet for the next Symposium, thus saving the postage cost.  I will be sending out an email soon, spelling out the details of these proposals, so members have the information ahead of time for the Board Meeting. I will have printed documents for each proposal for those in attendance so you can compare the existing wording to the proposed amended wording. Change is in the wind.

CCHS Southern California Workshop: January 27, 2015

I, along with 37 other history minded individuals attended the Workshop, held by CCHS at the Pasadena Museum of History. We had three knowledgeable speakers: Leslie Robin of the Center for Nonprofit Management spoke on Membership Development (Creating Value and Encouraging Engagement); Paul Rippens of the Associated Historical Societies of Los Angeles County spoke on the development and publishing of newsletters; and Julie Dobrick of AltaMed Health Services spoke on the process of obtaining grant funding.  All were very interesting and informative topics. We all took home a better understanding of each of these subjects.  Maybe you would like to put together a Workshop in your area.  If so, contact CCHS to work with you on the project.

By the way, if you live in the San Bernardino area, there is an Oral History Workshop on Sunday February 15, 12:30pm-3:00pm at the Victor Valley Museum in Apple Valley (call 760-961-9343 for reservations). $10.00 admission.

See you in Lompoc! 

 John Lenau, President

John Lenau
Conference of California Historical Societies
[email protected]
(760) 249-4650

First Vice President's Message 


This newsletter article is going to be a repeat of my January 2015 newsletter article – a short discussion about our next RVP meeting, to be held February 28, 2pm-4pm in Lompoc, CA. Instead of asking each RVP to report on the activities and special events sponsored by the historical societies in their respective regions, I am suggesting a somewhat different format, as follows:

I would like each RVP to canvass their region’s CCHS member organizations about the following topic and/or challenge: VOLUNTEERISM.  Volunteering has a tremendously positive effect on all of our communities – and it’s good for you too! Giving back to your community is valuable in and of itself, but helping others offers many benefits to the organization you're serving as well as the surrounding community.  I am requesting that all Regional Vice Presidents gather information from the historical societies/museums, etc. in their respective regions about the following aspects of volunteerism:

  • How does each organization recruit volunteers, either as Board members, or as museum docents/helpers?
  • Has the organization been successful recruiting volunteers of all ages and from various backgrounds, expertise and interests? If so, how?
  • What sort of volunteer orientation has been successful?
  • How do they train new volunteers, and what sort of on-going training do they offer seasoned volunteers? What resources and information do new volunteers and seasoned volunteers need?
  • How have they successfully retained volunteers? 
  • How do they manage their volunteers? 
  • Have they been successful at developing a sense of belonging for volunteers: being part of an important team?
  • What can be done about a difficult, but enthusiastic volunteer?
  • Please describe any successes and/or particular challenges that your organizations have encountered while recruiting, training, retaining and rewarding volunteers.

If possible, I would like feedback from each region a couple of weeks prior to the February meeting so I can organize the information. Each RVP will have an opportunity to present their region’s information at the RVP meeting, followed by a group discussion.  Hopefully, we will all come away with some useful and meaningful ideas on how to develop successful volunteer programs for our societies and museums.

If you have any questions, please contact me at [email protected] or (925) 387-5385.

See you in Santa Barbara County,

Andrea Blachman
1st Vice President
Conference of California Historical Societies
[email protected]
(925) 387-5385

Second Vice President's Message 

Gung Hay Fat Choi!

If you haven’t adopted your New Year’s resolution to be more active in the Conference of California Historical Societies, you have another chance. The horse is leaving the barn to make way for the year of the sheep. Yes, the year of the sheep: Chinese Year 4713 starts Feb. 19. It is also called the year of the goat or the year of the ram. The U.S. Postal Service has adopted the ram with its official lunar forever stamp. The stamp’s first day of issue is in San Francisco, February 7.

Here in Auburn, the Placer County Historical Society has its annual Chinese New Year dinner this month with the premiere showing of “Chinese Builders of Gold Mountain,” which takes a fresh look at how the Chinese overcame discrimination to shape California. Last month, Jerry Brown gained the historic distinction of being the longest serving, youngest and oldest governor. He quickly proclaimed that California has overtaken Russia, Italy and Brazil to become the world’s 7th largest economy at nearly $2.4 trillion. Once again, the 76-year-old Chief of State has the pundits looking at his chances of running for President next year.  Gov. Jerry Brown also has the distinction of being the Governor during the state’s worst recorded droughts. The son of Pat Brown, who defeated Richard Nixon and made the deserts bloom with his Central Valley projects, Jerry also has big building plans for a high speed railroad and water delivery tunnels through the Delta.

Yes, there is a lot of history going on - I think it's up to the baby boomers to step up to the plate as they reach retirement age by many thousands to spark new interest in our rich and diverse history. The baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, account for a greater share of the state’s population than California’s end of World War II population in 1945 of 9.34 million. According to the U.S. Census number crunchers, the state’s population this year should surpass 40 million, a quadrupling within 70 years.

The Gold Rush lives on: be a part of it!  Make it your resolution to be involved in getting that history down by volunteering at not only your local history group but also by joining the Conference of California Historical Societies.  The future schools, libraries and museums need you!  Start by taking a historical holiday at our Spring Symposium in Santa Barbara County. 

As Region 8 (Sierra Gateway) Vice President, I recently received a call from Linda Jack, Executive Secretary of the Nevada County Historical Society (NCHS). She would like the CCHS to put on a workshop about recruiting and making use of interns, from grade school interns to seasoned citizens. Can you help with this?  CCHS was established at the College of the Pacific for that very purpose, to assist each other in history at the grass roots level. In fact, the Nevada County Historical Society credits Dr. Robert E. Burns, President of the College of the Pacific with its own formation. He sparked the NCHS with a 1944 speech to the Grass Valley Lions Club about organizing a county history group to preserve its rich history and all its facets.

In this New Year, resolve to be more historically relevant.  And if you are a goat (ram or sheep), you are in good company with the likes of Mark Twain, Michelangelo, Oroville Wright, Julia Roberts, Barbara Walters, Rudolph Valentino, Rachel Carson, Thomas Alva Edison, Jane Austen, Boris Becker, Jamie Foxx, Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis.

Me? I am a rabbit. One of my resolutions is to work harder in recruiting more history-minded folks for CCHS. Another is to join the bride in running the London Marathon in the year of the monkey. 

Michael Otten, 2nd Vice President

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

Special Featured Speaker:
The History of Music in California

Spring Symposium: Santa Barbara County
February 26-28, 2015 · Lompoc, CA
More information.

Join us for a special night with award-winning artist, composer and world musician John Zeretzke.  Learn about the history of music in California and see and hear the instruments that have been used for expression, celebration and dance throughout history in California.  From fascinating Native American flutes to down home country fiddles, you'll explore the wide range of historical instruments and music in the state. Best of all, we'll end with a concert from this world-renowned musician: you can sit back, relax and enjoy the sounds of California culture and history at the River Bottom Boys dinner venue, filled with memorabilia and down home BBQ cooking!

Save $25 per registration!  The early bird rate ends TOMORROW, February 12. Register now.

Two Important Deadlines this Week! 

Early Bird Deadline for the Spring Symposium: February 12
Learn more.

CCHS Award Nominations: February 15
Learn more.

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published this page 2015-06-09 16:41:17 -0700
Conference of California Historical Societies
Bringing together California's historical community to share California's heritage, learn from one another and strengthen our communities.