To the membership of the Norfolk Historical Society (NHS):
In order to put our Society in a financially stable position, now and in the future, some very significant changes have, and will continue to be made.
The focus of the NHS’s activities over the next few years will be the operation, promotion and expansion of our archives, with a particular emphasis on digitization to ensure vulnerable archive material is preserved for future generations. We are unique in this county in this regard, with an extensive archival collection, cared for by a dedicated and extremely knowledgeable group of volunteers. As well, considering the renewed interest in family history, we will be establishing a genealogy centre, which, combined with educational outreach to our area schools, should help us encourage the development of a new and younger membership.
To achieve this financial stability, however, it has become necessary for the Norfolk Historical Society to cease operation of the museum which bears Eva Brook Donly’s name.
For over 70 years, the NHS has, through the dedication and financial support of its membership, operated and maintained an excellent museum which has not only highlighted the history of Norfolk County but also has amassed a significant collection of art and artifacts. We have done this independently of County funding, depending on memberships, donations, grants and fundraising.
However, over the past 7-8 years, our operating losses have simply been too great. Our traditional sources of income have declined or disappeared (as they have for so many charities) and we simply cannot continue to absorb these losses. The Board of Directors, after considering many different options, have decided that this course of action is necessary to preserve the ability of the Norfolk Historical Society to continue as a viable organization which can continue to preserve and promote Norfolk”s history.
What will happen next, I cannot predict. Much of what will happen next is in the hands of Norfolk County. I can assure you that the traditional activities of the Society – its gallery talks, special events, walking tours, workshops, and advocacy for the preservation of Norfolk history – will continue. The only difference is that, for the foreseeable future, our endeavours will not include the operation of the museum.
The museum collection will still be in our care. We will work with the County, other museums, and our membership to make sure that it is cared for and preserved. Your Board of Directors has the Society’s best interests in mind, both historically, and financially, and we hope that you will continue to support us in our efforts.
As always, your comments, constructive criticisms, and concerns are welcomed by me and your Board of Directors at any time.