January 2016 Newsletter

President's Message



I hope you and yours had a Happy Holiday Season. Registration is now open for our February 26-27 Spring Symposium in San Juan Capistrano. You may have already received a registration packet in the mail from the CCHS. Please resolve to attend our Conferences this year. Look at our website for the dates and places.

I was reviewing our web site last month and noticed a few items under our Board of Directors and RVPs that needed some updating. Our Liaison list was one that needed work also. I spent time contacting them last year and adding some new ones. Take a look at the list to see if these organizations might help your society or museum.

There is now a new page for “Board of Directors”. These members represent you at our Board meetings, you might want to get to know them. The RVP page now includes the Group RVPs. There is a possibility of eight (8) representatives. They are your representatives on the Board also. The RVP list will be revised as we add RVPs. Take a look to see if your Region has a representative. If not and you are interested in being an RVP, contact Andrea our 1st VP. The RVP page includes maps. One map covers the 40 Regions our RVPs represent in California. There are ten 10 possible RVPs in LA County alone (see separate map). Included is a California map that covers the eight (8) Group RVP areas.

Also on the site are our committees. Take a look. If you are interested in being on one of our committees please contact me. You can make a difference.

We are in the process of making our website more user-friendly and lively. If you have some constructive criticism pertinent to the betterment of the website, please let me know and I will forward it for potential improvements.

See you at the Spring Symposium.


All concerns and compliments are welcome.



 John Lenau


Conference of California Historical Societies

[email protected]

(760) 249-4650


First Vice President's Message


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and is looking forward to being actively involved in an interesting and productive year with CCHS.

My January newsletter is going to be another CALL TO ACTION, asking all RVPs to make a sincere and dedicated effort to locate, contact and communicate with all of the CCHS members – both individuals and organizations – in your respective regions.

We are particularly interesting in obtaining the names and contact information for all of the CCHS members in each of the 40 regions.  We would like the name of the organization/individual, contact person(s), telephone numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses, website and any other pertinent information that will identify and help us communicate directly with these members.

Contacting CCHS members in your region is important for the following reasons:

  • It will help you know who all of your “customers/members” are, especially those that you are not currently acquainted with
  • It will help expand and improve our current CCHS database by pointing out some of the short comings of the existing database
  • It will help Arrowhead Management more effectively communicate directly with the members in each RVP’s respective regions and relieve the RVPs from that responsibility
  • It will help facilitate moving forward with the initiatives that we discussed at the August 2015 Harris Ranch planning session
  • It will provide a current database to be used to inform CCHS members of events and functions – such as workshops, annual meetings, symposiums, etc.
  • It will provide critical contact information by targeting communication to key decision makers in history-related organizations. This will be especially important as CCHS leadership develops a strategic plan to drive CCHS forward as the leader in assisting historical associations and organizations in their mission to save and preserve California history

A few ideas on where to start gathering this vital information:

  • Google historical societies, museums, libraries, alliances, etc.  in your region
  • Use any type of county listing of organizations in your region
  • Gather newsletters from member organizations.  These newsletters will contain a list of officers of the Board of Directors and some contact information
  • Contact historical alliances
  • Contact your county historical society for a list of local historical societies

Please help with this important effort to reach out to ALL of the CCHS member organizations and individuals!

If you are a member organization and/or an individual member of CCHS and have not been contacted by a CCHS representative or Regional Vice President (RVP) recently, please take the initiative and send your information to CCHS.

A formatted worksheet that you can populate with the information on each member organization/individual is available.  Please contact me if you’d like me to forward this form to you to populate with your information.

Please send completed information to [email protected]

A few statistics that you might find interesting:

2:00 p.m. Sunday:  Busiest time of the week at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


                Casual museum-goers (1-2 times/year)  21%

                Rare museum-goers (every few years)  30%

                Non-visitors (never) 37%

                Regular museum goers (3+ times/year) 13%


History Museums/Historic Sites                                  6.7          Most trusted

                Museums                                                            6.4         

                Art Museums                                                     5.9

                Wikipedia                                                           5.7

                Local paper                                                        5.7

                Academic Researchers & Professors          5.7

                Science Centers                                               5.2

                US Government                                               4.9

                Nonprofit Researchers                                   4.6

                Corporate Researchers                                  3.6

*History museums are the #1 most trustworthy source of information in America*

Source: Museum: American Alliance of Museums, December 2015

The work that each of you do is IMPORTANT.  

California’s historical organizations are a bridge to our past.

CCHS is a bridge to California’s historical organizations.

Thank you for your dedication and commitment to CCHS!


My best wishes to each of you for a happy, healthy New Year full of joy and wonderful surprises,



[email protected]



Second Vice President's Message

"That's Amazing!"

That should sum up the lineup for CCHS’s Spring Symposium Feb. 26-27 in San Juan Capistrano. If my history’s correct, it will be the conference’s second visit, the first being in the 1980s.

Join us as we walk down California’s oldest residential street and get a close look at the largest historic stone structure west of the Mississippi. It is Mission San Juan Capistrano, where Spanish missionary Junipero Serra had celebrated mass. Pope Francis last Sept. 23 canonized Serra. Our host hotel is the Best Western, near much of the action. Be sure to book at the special CCHS rate and take advantage of the early bird Symposium conference rates.

The highlight of your trip will come the first day when we visit the Huell Howser archives at Chapman University. Howser, the Tennessee transplant who never lost his drawl, left his estate to the University he had worked with in creating his ever popular California’s Gold television series for PBS. The University posthumously honored Howser with a doctorate in California history.

In the public mind at least, Howser is the state’s best known historian.  To discover why join us. To get a sense of why, I suggest look at Howser’s 2008 road trip visit. You can view it free at:


Howser died Jan. 7, 2013 at the age of 67 from prostate cancer. That summer one of the most popular exhibits at the California State Fair was a special 1,000 square foot exhibit with a re-creation of Howser’s office and his vintage video-editing bay and his favorite Tommy Bahama shirt. Fairgoers would stop by and have their photos taken with this life-size “That’s Amazing” image of the 6’4” Howser:


Howser explained the reason for his success is that “People’s stories are what’s it all about… I want our stories to revel the wonders of the human spirit and the richness of life in California, including its history, people, culture and natural wonders.”

So join the CCHS conversation and story sharing in San Juan Capistrano. Register now. I’ll see you there.

(Quick note: There were more than 600 visits to the CCHS website in December. Make the website your source of what is going on as well as an informative venue for activities of a statewide interest. Think of it as a go to resource and message tool. Suggestions welcome.)


Michael Otten

2nd Vice President

Conference of California Historical Societies

[email protected]

(530) 888-7837

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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.