Arts, Culture, and Humanities

New Canaan Historical Society

  • New Canaan, CT
  • www.nchistory.org

Mission Statement

The following mission statement, part of which appears in the 1889 Constitution of the New Canaan Historical Society, was revised and expanded by vote of the Board of Governors in 1978 and is frequently revisited by the Governors.

The objective of the founding members of the New Canaan Historical Society was “…to bring together and arrange the historical events of the town of New Canaan, the genealogies of the families who have lived in town…to form a library and to collect relics and curiosities, to form a museum…” Our mission now places research, preservation and education as the Society’s primary functions. The Society realizes its mission through historical and genealogical research into the history of New Canaan, the operation of a research library, the publication of books and pamphlets, exhibits, and education programs. Through conservation efforts the Society strives to ensure increasing access to its collections. This goal requires a constant reevaluation of the buildings and collections, prioritizing the needs of each and treating them as necessary. We are presently preserving and maintaining six historic buildings and their collections.

The Society began to acquire records and artifacts immediately after its organization in 1889; in 1913 its members opened the first permanent meeting and display room. During the period of 1958-1975 the Society began the acquisition of museums and buildings, the installation of collections, and the recruitment and training of volunteers. The campus today consists of New Canaan’s first Town House, 1825; the Hanford-Silliman House Museum, c. 1764; The John Rogers Studio Museum, 1878; the Silliman-Monroe-Cody Drug Store Museum, 1846; the Costume Museum; the Tool Museum and nineteenth-century Printing Office; the Rock School, 1799; the Little Red Schoolhouse, 1855, and the mid-century modern Gores Pavilion, 1960. The Town House houses a library and vault in which are stored documents, genealogies, art, and artifacts from New Canaan’s history; in 2009 the Silvermine Room art gallery was opened, featuring changing exhibits of the work of the Silvermine Group of Artists.

The Society’s daily operations encompass many different activities, including the preservation and interpretation of the historic buildings and museums; the operation of a research library; a full schedule of programs for both children and adults, and a plaquing program for historic homes. Many local businesses and organizations use the Historical Society as a resource. For example, reporters and editors from the newspapers use our subject, biographical and house files as well as our extensive photograph collection. Local businesses use the photograph collection for decoration and marketing (the large photos of New Canaan at Walgreen’s came from the Society, and our vintage postcards were used for the Bank of New Canaan’s 2012 and 2013 calendars). Realtors frequently consult the house files to inform themselves and their clients about the history of homes in New Canaan, and authors use our library to do research for books. Our house files include field cards as well as photographs, newspaper clippings and any other pertinent materials relating to the homes and the people who lived in them. Elementary school students use our annuals and books, looking for information about the town, especially when they study the colonial period; while some high school students volunteer in the library. Genealogists find our library invaluable in their search for family history. We receive email, phone and mail requests from around the country from people who have ties to New Canaan and are doing personal research.

In 2013 more than 2,000 students attended the Society’s educational programs, including school tours, pre-school story hour, after-school workshops, summer camps, birthday parties, Boy and Girl Scout visits, and special tours and events. The Society strives to expand the scope of its activities for children each year. All of these activities are carried out by one full-time Executive Director, several part-time staff, and the Society’s many dedicated volunteers.

The majority of visitors are from New Canaan and Fairfield County. Others come from Westchester County and all over Connecticut. The Society also has many researchers, genealogists, scholars and visitors from throughout the United States and countries around the world.

Main Programs

  1. Preservation & Interpretation of six historic buildings
  2. School Tours and Childrens' Programs
  3. Modern House Tour + Symposium

ruling year

1951

Executive Director

Self-reported

Ms. Janet Lindstrom

Keywords

Self-reported

Historical Society

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EIN

06-0727288

 Number

3699995604

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Historical Societies and Related Activities (A80)

Museum & Museum Activities (A50)

History Museums (A54)

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 Society strives to be the source of and a voice for historic preservation in New Canaan through expanding membership and their participation in the affairs of the Society, continuing to be an important adjunct to area schools, developing museum use through research, programs and exhibits, restoring and preserving the artifacts in our collection for the purpose of informing and educating, continuing to collect according to our accession guidelines – the records, documents and articles pertaining to New Canaan, maintaining our physical plant, and Increasing public relations to reach a wider audience.

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

Preservation & Interpretation of six historic buildings

The campus which the Society maintains today consists of New Canaan’s first Town House, 1825; the Hanford-Silliman House Museum, c. 1764; The John Rogers Studio Museum, 1878; the Silliman-Monroe-Cody Drug Store Museum, 1846; the Costume Museum; the Tool Museum and nineteenth-century Printing Office; the Rock School, 1799; the Little Red Schoolhouse, 1855, and the mid-century modern Gores Pavilion, 1960.

Category

Historic Preservation & Conservation

Population(s) Served

None

None

None

Budget

Program 2

School Tours and Childrens' Programs

In 2013 more than 2,000 students attended the Society’s educational programs, including school tours, pre-school story hour, after-school workshops, summer camps, birthday parties, Boy and Girl Scout visits, and special tours and events. The Society strives to expand the scope of its activities for children each year.

Category

History & Historical Programs

Population(s) Served

None

None

None

Budget

Program 3

Modern House Tour + Symposium

In the fall of 2013 the Historical Society’s biennial event, the 2013 Modern House Tour + Symposium: A Modern Mix, was highly successful on many levels. The full-day event brought together architects, scholars and interested individuals; all of whom enjoyed the educational symposium and seeing the selected modern homes. This event highlights the importance and uniqueness of New Canaan as a hub of mid-century modern architecture and the attention called to the homes helps protect them from demolition. It also serves as a fund raiser for the Society’s preservation fund.

Category

Animal Control

Population(s) Served

None

None

None

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Our overriding goal is the preservation of our buildings and collections. We currently have given three preservation projects a priority:

    Goal 1: To repair the windows and sills in the Hanford-Silliman House Museum where the samplers are housed. The majority of the windows are original; panes of glass in the Tavern have etchings from the original owners. The repair will also, most importantly, remove the lead paint from the peeling windows where children's programming occurs.

    Goal 2: We are currently seeking funding to replace the HVAC system in the John Rogers Studio and Museum. In 2003 the Historical Society received a Save America’s Treasures Grant which included the installation of an HVAC system. This system, however, inadequately controls the environmental stability of the gallery and is putting the fragile and sensitive John Rogers sculptures in peril. Plaster sculptures are extremely sensitive to temperature and humidity fluctuations, and the existing environmental conditions will cause instability in the pieces which will lead to breaks and damage. Replacing this system with one that is consistent and reliable is critical.

    Goal 3: Continue our attention to collection preservation. The first priority this year is our textile collection of which the samplers are a part.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Not available.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Not available.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Not available.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Not available.

Social Media

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External Reviews

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Financials

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

NEW CANAAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY
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.

New Canaan 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
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive Director

Ms. Janet Lindstrom

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

R. Bailey Stewart

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?