July 2015 Newsletter

President's Message 


I recently attended a workshop put on by our local school board that discussed National History Day 2016, which will focus on "Leadership and Legacy in History". They presented a slide show about the 2015 program, which is on the CCHS website here. Our own Board Secretary, Barbara Kimball and Trust Fund Chairman, Al Minard, represented CCHS as judges for the event and passed out certificates. For more information about National History Day, e-mail Al Minard at [email protected]. It is extremely important that all our members instill the importance of this program to our local schools. If we get young people excited about history, it will carry on with them into adulthood. They may then look to CCHS as an avenue to learn more.

Please check out our 2nd Vice President, Michael Otten's, message below. He has hit the nail right on the head explaining the direction the CCHS is headed. If you remember from the June Newsletter, included were a pair of maps that indicated the new Combined Regional Vice Presidential regions. This will give us eight Combined RVP representatives throughout the state on our Board, along with the six Executive Board Members, three standing committee members, the Trust Fund Chairman, the Media Director (Editor of the Historian), plus a Past President representative. CCHS is planning a retreat at Harris Ranch on August 29 to bring this new Board together for the first time for a Strategic Planning Session. "Progress" is our most important motto. At the conclusion of this all-day meeting, we should have a good idea of where CCHS is headed in the near future. We look forward to sharing our new plans with you at the October Symposium, October 15-17, 2015.

Please contact me with any concerns and/or input for this NEW Board.

Thank You,

John Lenau, President

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

First Vice President's Message 


As you are probably aware, the CCHS membership recently approved a bylaw change reconstituting the structure of the organization’s Board of Directors.  The 40 CCHS regions have been combined into 8 groups.  Each group will be represented by a "Combined Regional Vice President".  The re-structured board will now consist of officers and 8 members (Combined RVPs) who will serve as regional representatives on the newly formed Board of Directors.  In addition, there will be a maximum of seven "At Large" Board members.

The Executive Committee is in the process of planning a strategic planning session on August 29, 2015.  The objective of this meeting will be to re-examine our activities, goals and objectives, i.e.:  What do we do well?  What are our goals and objectives?  We will examine various opportunities for membership involvement and will seek to determine how we can re-structure our organization so that more members can become actively involved.

For summer reading, I would like to direct your attention to my June 2015 Newsletter and the “Resources from Past CCHS Professional Development Events” section of the website. CCHS seeks to help its members to "See, Learn, Share" in history.  One way we are trying to meet this goal is by sharing information that we think will be interesting and useful to all CCHS members and their respective organizations.  Those of you who were not able to attend the May Annual Meeting might find the handouts from various workshops interesting and informative.  For example, the museum curator who has just been presented with a shoe box of “treasures” will benefit from Lauren Lassleben’s two- page information sheet about “Thinking Like an Archivist”.  

This month you will find a link to an article about “Developing a Plan for Involving Volunteers”, which I think anyone involved with a non-profit organization will find helpful.

Please let us know if you find that sharing information and ideas is one way that CCHS can “help our local museums and historical societies acquire skills in management, acquisition, preservation, and restoration techniques." 

Best wishes for a wonderful summer!

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

Second Vice President's Message  


Where are you going to be in five years? If you’re like me, you’re probably not ready.

CCHS feels the same.

Your Board of Directors has set Aug. 29 for a brainstorming session at Harris Ranch to lay out our goals for the future. Under President John Lenau’s leadership, we have trimmed the size of our Board of Directors to a more manageable size to make it more functional. We have embarked on an ambitious plan to make sure all sectors and regions are represented. We are working on a two-pronged program to bring back members and organizations whose membership may have lapsed and are adding new members as well.

Is CCHS still relevant after six decades? Are we offering good value to our members? I think we are more needed today than ever before, but we can be better.

So, we are doing a little bit of stocktaking. To find the answers we need to start asking questions. Where do you think we should be going? How best are we going to serve you now and in the future? We know for certain that we need to add members to be fiscally viable and to build attendance at our Annual Meetings, Symposiums and workshops.

We know we need to improve our website and communications, fully develop NationBuilder, our little-understood database, while developing and expanding our presence on Facebook and the other hot button communications tools folks use these days, while not neglecting those who don’t want to have anything to do with them. Oh, there is a myriad of items.

So, please be part of the conversation. Send me and the rest of the leadership team your input. Send an email or call. We love hearing from you.

While you’re at it, be sure to pencil in on your calendar the Fall Symposium, Oct. 15-17 in Redding.

Michael Otten, 2nd Vice President

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

Save the Dates!  Fall Symposium: October 15-17, 2015

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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.