Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Fairfield Historical Society

  • Fairfield, CT
  • www.fairfieldhistory.org

Mission Statement

The Fairfield Museum and History Center (FMHC) is a dynamic museum that uses its collections in a multitude of innovative ways. Located in Fairfield, Connecticut, the 114-year-old museum provides award-winning exhibitions, a wide array of educational programs, and special events that teach regional history, celebrate our shared heritage, and prepare students and adults to be better informed citizens and more active participants in their community. We believe in the power of history to inspire the imagination, stimulate thought, and transform society. The Museum's mission has guided our success in becoming one of Fairfield County's most thriving cultural organizations.

Southwestern Connecticut, positioned at the “gateway to New England," is historically significant for its combination of Puritan roots, global maritime trade, agrarian life and industrial growth, and the accumulation of wealth from the 18th-century to the present. The cultural tensions between those different forces continue to shape the region and echo national themes. The Museum's collections reflect this rich diversity and include rare manuscripts and books, textiles, furniture, and decorative arts, as well as well-documented archaeological finds. The collection is particularly strong in documenting the lives of working people. The recent acquisition of the comprehensive Collier Collection in Connecticut History (made possible by former Connecticut State Historian, Dr. Christopher Collier, and a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services/IMLS) has secured the Museum's position as the primary regional destination for researching the history of Connecticut. FMHC also owns a mid-18th century house and has oversight of five 18th and 19th-century buildings located at the Museum's doorstep, on Fairfield's Historic Town Green, which it uses in its educational programming.

FMHC's collections are featured in docent-led tours and are integral to our public programming. Annually, we welcome over 30,000 visitors and provide educational opportunities for more than 6,500 students from 61 schools throughout southwestern Connecticut. 20% of the children who participate in our programs are from underserved communities, and the Museum seeks to further increase its outreach into those populations through arts and humanities education initiatives. Furthermore, academic and curatorial researchers use our collections for a wide variety of projects, and class visits from regional universities give college students first-hand experience with interpreting historic objects.

Main Programs

  1. Changing Exhibitions and Educational Programming
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

The Fairfield Museum's audience encompasses New York City and Westchester Counties, east to New Haven County and north into western Massachusetts. The Fairfield Museum is a privately-supported, non-profit museum, library, and educational organization founded in 1903 that provides families in Fairfield County with a wide array of exhibits and educational programs that teach regional history, celebrate our shared heritage, and prepare students and adults to be more active participants in their community.

ruling year

1950

Executive Director

Self-reported

Mr. Michael A. Jehle

Keywords

Self-reported

Fairfield regional history, Southwestern CT history, genealogy, historical research, public history

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Also Known As

Fairfield Museum and History Center

EIN

06-0646622

 Number

5398568412

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Museum & Museum Activities (A50)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

The Fairfield Museum's vision is to use history to strengthen community and shape its future. We believe that history is a powerful platform for examining and understanding the civic values and responsibilities of our democratic society. As a public forum for the process of shared discovery, we will celebrate and cultivate the elements that create and bind community: complex stories from multiple points of view that explore the diverse legacies of our region. Success will be measured by people participating more actively, and in an informed way, to create a vibrant community.

To accomplish our mission, we will create experiences that:

§ Are authentic and trustworthy

§ Make history personal, intimate and meaningful

§ Present both varied and broad viewpoints about what makes us a community and a nation

§ Make full use of the Museum's collections, archives and historic resources

§ Explore history through the related disciplines of architecture, geography, sociology, economics, fine arts, etc.

§ Encourage broader civic participation

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Changing Exhibitions and Educational Programming

With Town and private support, the Fairfield Museum sponsors a wide array of programs for children, families, and adults. In this past year, the Museum has worked hard to offer even more of those services to the community:

• Adult and senior programs were enjoyed by more than 3,550 adults.

• Nearly 17,000 people visited the museum’s exhibits or participated in family programs, and an additional 900 national and international researchers used Fairfield’s irreplaceable archives that are preserved in our library.

• The Fairfield Museum provides programs that directly support school curricula in all of Fairfield’s elementary and middle schools. The Museum served more than 5,200 students over the past year, supplementing classroom learning in social studies, arts, and literature.

• With the opening of our new long-term exhibit, Creating Community: Exploring 375 Years of Our Past, and related programming, the Museum will continue to increase visitor numbers to the Museum and to Fairfield. The exhibit has been immensely popular with seniors and school groups, alike.

• We continue to serve the need for a cultural summer camp experience for the Town’s children. This year our camps were over-subscribed, necessitating the addition of extra programming.

• The Fairfield Museum manages the Town’s five historic properties, including Burr Mansion, Sun Tavern, Bronson Windmill, Victorian Cottage and Barn, and the 1812 Powder House. Museum management of the Town’s historic properties

The Fairfield Museum is the sole repository for Fairfield’s irreplaceable archives:

• We preserve at considerable expense the manuscripts, genealogies, artifacts, maps and rare books, as well at 20,000 books, that chronicle nearly 375 years of Fairfield’s history and make them widely available to students and researchers.

Category

History & Historical Programs

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

None

None

Budget

Service Areas

Self-reported

National

The Fairfield Museum's audience encompasses New York City and Westchester Counties, east to New Haven County and north into western Massachusetts. The Fairfield Museum is a privately-supported, non-profit museum, library, and educational organization founded in 1903 that provides families in Fairfield County with a wide array of exhibits and educational programs that teach regional history, celebrate our shared heritage, and prepare students and adults to be more active participants in their community.

Social Media

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

FAIRFIELD HISTORICAL SOCIETY INC
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Fairfield Historical Society

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive Director

Mr. Michael A. Jehle

BIO

Executive Director for a decade, Jehle directs all organizational operations, leads planning and institutional advancement, and guides the Museum's many educational and community initiatives. Jehle has been a museum professional for over 30 years. He obtained a bachelor's degree in History and American Studies from Kalamazoo College, and earned a Master's degree with honors in American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been honored as a Paul Cuffee Fellow, a Sainsbury Fellow, and a fellow at the Getty Leadership Institute.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Ms. Sharon Lauer

Head of School,The Unquowa School

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?