March 2017 Newsletter

President's Message


It’s a beautiful, but chilly, morning in Martinez. The sun is shining, the trees are beginning to bloom, and the daffodils are perky and colorful. We’ve enjoyed and been grateful for all of the rain we had in February, but are happy to see the sun and blue sky again. I hope none of our members were affected by the flooding and mudslides experienced in some parts of the state. That potential, and now very real, danger has made me realize how important it is for organizations to have a disaster preparedness/emergency response plan in place as part of their policies and procedures.

CCHS is making great strides toward implementing the various initiatives spelled out in the strategic plan’s vision statement, as follows:

CCHS will be the recognized leader (by providing differential value and high professional standards) in empowering historical societies (their staffs and volunteers) in their mission to preserve California history by making them stronger and more responsive to their communities (protecting and preserving the historical record and interpreting the past to the public) through organizational development (symposiums, workshops, webinars, electronic publications) and the sharing of successful strategies (networking).

One of the strategic plan’s initiatives, or goals, is the Regional Vice President (RVP) program. Cim Castellon recently presented an excellent training program for RVPs, one in Claremont, CA for southern CA RVPs, and one in Sacramento, CA for northern RVPs. Her training provided a structure and a “tool box” of ideas and suggestions for how RVPs and GLVPs can perform effectively in their essential role as the “bloodline and important link between their regional responsibility and the organization (CCHS)”. CCHS cannot function effectively without the RVP’s efforts, and Cim’s training manual outlines just how to perform that important job.

Last month I talked about Audience Development which “describes any activity that is undertaken to meet the needs of existing and potential audiences and provides value to the audience with quality content.” “A non-profit is only as powerful as the people who support the organization. For an organization to be successful it is imperative to attract an audience of volunteers, financial contributors and thought leaders. The process of building that network is Audience Development.”

The Conference of California Historical Societies is a network of people interested in preserving California history. We network by attending annual meetings, symposiums and other venues that link individuals together who become walking, talking advertisements for one another and for the subject or topic that brings them together…California history.

Networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how we can help others in their mission to protect and preserve the historical record and interpret the past to the public. Networking is also about making contacts and connections; it is about volunteering and learning. Folks who network are usually supportive of one another and they often gather to share and exchange ideas and experiences with one another and, in a workshop setting, learn from competent and knowledgeable speakers or presenters.

One way that CCHS builds trust and relationships amongst like-minded history “buffs” and provides a forum for members to learn about matters pertaining to their organization’s mission is by sponsoring CCHS workshops. One such workshop is being held on Saturday, March 18, 2017, 9:00 am- 4:00 pm at the Homestead Museum in the City of Industry. Lunch will be included!

The Workshop objectives are to:

• Increase your organization’s effectiveness in preserving California’s history ….Sound familiar?
• Share best practices and successful strategies. Sound familiar?

Who should attend?

• Local historical society board members interested in keeping relevant, being more responsive to their communities and sharing best practices. Sound familiar?

The topics covered will be:

• Audience Development
• Embracing Millennials
• How to Write an Effective Newsletter
• Keeping Relevant
• Developing Community Partnerships
• Volunteer Recruitment

The presenters are all experienced and successful in their various fields of expertise and are anxious and excited to share their knowledge and skill sets with those in attendance.

As you can see, this is an excellent opportunity for the leaders of local historical societies to network…. to meet and make contact with other like-minded board members, and to learn how to “empower their historical societies in their mission to preserve California history by making them stronger and more responsive to their communities.” Sound familiar?

You can visit and register on the CCHS website here. 

This workshop will be held in southern California. The northern California CCHS leadership team will be planning a similar opportunity for those living in the Sacramento/Bay Area regions. If you have suggestions for topics that you’d like to have covered at a future workshop, please send your ideas to me at [email protected] or call me at 925.387.5385.

If your historical society has developed a disaster preparedness/emergency response plan that you’d like to share with CCHS members, please consider submitting it to the CCHS Knowledge Base so that other organizations can benefit from your research and perhaps adapt it to their unique situation…another effective way to network.

Networking is one way we learn and grow as individuals and also how we help our organizations meet the many challenges faced by local historical societies today. It’s also enjoyable and rewarding!

I hope to hear from you soon!


Andrea Blachman, CCHS President

[email protected]


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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.