Hours of Operation

Gibbs Avenue Museum
and
Blynn Davis Memorial Archives

Summer hours--Tuesday-Friday  11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ( and look for the "Open" flag for additional hours). To better serve you, we strongly recommend that researchers contact us in advance.

Narramissic

Be sure to visit Narramissic Tuesday-Fridays 10 a.m. till 3 p.m.--our Intern, Ben Rideout will be happy to take you on a tour of the house and barn.  The grounds at Narramissic are always open--we have picnic tables, so bring a picnic!    Please feel free to enjoy the grounds during daylight hours.

Our Mission Statement

Organized as a nonprofit organization, the Society exists to encourage an appreciation and understanding of the events, customs, and traditions of Bridgton and the surrounding area, as it pertains to Bridgton, by collecting and preserving historically significant material and making that material available to the public through programs and publications, as well as the operation and maintenance of museums, historical properties, and research facilities.


Strategic Plan & Mission Statement - 2007

This plan has been adopted by the Board of Trustees for discussion and approval by the membership at our Annual Meeting, to be held at the Museum on Gibbs Avenue at 2:00 pm Sunday, October 21, 2007.   Members are encouraged to read it in advance of the meeting. Our approach was guided greatly by ideas in the keynote address delivered by Laura Roberts at the 2006 annual meeting of Maine Archives and Museums (“MAM”).   Ms. Roberts, a well-respected museum professional and planning consultant, argues forcefully for an approach that is more audience- or market-driven than has previously been the norm in most historical societies. The full text of her lively and thought-provoking speech is available on the MAM website, www.mainemuseums.org.

You may also download the Strategic Plan as an Adobe PDF file.

 

Bridgton Historical Society Strategic Plan
Accepted by Board of Trustees for Membership Consideration
September 19, 2007
 
Introduction
 
This is a two-year operational plan, designed to insure that the Society moves forward as efficiently as possible and maximizes its available and potential resources. The activities envisioned will provide the basis for a detailed, long-term plan that will be instituted by 2010. It is expected that this will lead to a capital campaign that will be in the range of at least $200,000 - $500,000, involving substantial investments in facilities and infrastructure at both the museum and Narramissic. The campaign could culminate in a celebration of Bridgton’s 250th anniversary, in 2018. Extensive, professionally-guided planning, with maximum input from the community, will be required for such a project to succeed.  
 
1. Vision
 
The Bridgton Historical Society will become a well-recognized, forward-looking part of the community, serving as a resource for the town, schools, and individuals. It will be recognized throughout the region and beyond for excellence in programming and exhibitions, and exercise responsible stewardship of its collections to the highest possible standards.
 
In addition to providing a center for research and preserving significant historical materials, the museum will be a center for dynamic, interactive exhibits that engage a broad audience. The Society will preserve the special historic nature of Narramissic, including the grounds and buildings, and maintain the property as a center for active learning and an attraction for both Bridgton residents and visitors to the area.
 
 
2. Mission Statement
 
Rationale:  It is widely accepted that historical societies will need to alter the way they do business in light of dramatic social and technological change in the 21st century. To that end, the Society should alter its mission statement to emphasize why it exists, rather than what it does to fulfill its mission. It is hoped that such a change, while subtle, will alter the way the organization approaches its tasks by making it more responsive to the community and its needs.
 
Previous: Organized as a nonprofit organization, the Society exists for the purpose of collecting and preserving historically significant material that encourages an appreciation and understanding of the events, customs, and traditions of Bridgton and the surrounding area, as it pertains to Bridgton, and making that material available to the public through the operation and maintenance of museums, historical properties, and research facilities.
 
Current: Organized as a nonprofit organization, the Society exists to encourage an appreciation and understanding of the events, customs, and traditions of Bridgton and the surrounding area, as it pertains to Bridgton, by collecting and preserving historically significant material and making that material available to the public through programs and publications, as well as the operation and maintenance of museums, historical properties, and research facilities.
 
 
3. Analysis of Current Situation
 
            A. Strengths  
                        Well established organization with long track record
                        Diverse income sources
                        Strong Collections
 
            B. Weaknesses
                        Lack of Community Awareness
                        Insufficient income for maintenance of 2 facilities
                        Lack of broad volunteer participation
                        Lack of paid staff
 
            C. Opportunities
                        Facilities at Narramissic, currently under-utilized
                        Specific audiences that could be cultivated: rail buffs, re-enactors, etc.
                        Revitalization of Bridgton’s Main Street and its cultural community
                        Collaboration with other organizations
 
            D. Threats
                       Competition with other organizations for audience and resources

                       Changing population with fewer roots in town (also an opportunity)
 
 
4. Goals
 
            A. Increase community participation
 
            B. Expand use of the facilities, especially Narramissic
 
            C. Create a stable, sustainable organizational structure
 
            D. Improve fund-raising
 
 
5. Actions
 
            A. Community Participation
                        1) Improve customer service and public image
                                    Responsibility: Board and volunteers
                                    Time Frame/means: Immediate, through improved communication, training, and consistency          
 
                        2) Produce a series of hands-on free events aimed particularly at families
                                    Responsibility: Program Committee
                                    Time Frame/means: Three events before end of 2008
 
                        3) Town-wide mailing
                                    Responsibility: Newsletter and Publicity Chairs
                                    Time Frame/means: June, 2008. Find sponsors, advertisers, professional designer.
 
                        4) Actively promote use of Narramissic grounds
                                    Responsibility:
                                    Time Frame/means: Immediate/by June, 2008. Create signage  (need funding/sponsors), publicize through press releases and  other vehicles.
 
                        5) Create Bridgton Historical/Tourist Map
                                    Responsibility: Board to recruit special project team
                                    Time Frame/means: By 2009 or 2010. Survey historic buildings          
                                    and sites, create map that includes advertising for local businesses.
 
 
            B. Expand Use of Facilities
                        1) Apply for designation as Official Repository for Town Records
                                    Responsibility: Collections Manager
                                    Time Frame/means:       Early 2008.
 
                        2) Develop Relationship with Blacksmith for Narramissic
                                    Responsibility:  Board to recruit special project team
                                    Time Frame/means: By June, 2008. Solicit Proposals and  negotiate terms.                       
                       
                        3)  Develop long-term plan for use of Narramissic facilities
                                    Responsibility: Board
                                    Time Frame/means: By Fall, 2008. Convene focus group                                                         composed of preservation and museum professionals, along with local interested parties (business and non-profits) to analyze current usage and recommend changes.
                       
 
                        4) Create new major events
                                    Responsibility: Board, Program Committee
                                    Time Frame/means: By summer 2009, if not earlier. Add one every year or two for several years, depending in part on recommendations in #3 above.
 
            C. Organizational Structure
                        1)  Expand and focus Board
                                    Responsibility: Board, Nominating Committee, Members at large
                                    Time Frame/means: Annual Meeting, 2008 through actions by Board, Nominating Committee, and by-laws amendment.
 
                        2) Establish Program Committee and 2 co-chairs for each event
                                    Responsibility: Board
                                    Time Frame/means: 2008
                                   
                        3) Invigorate volunteer program
                                    Responsibility: Board, relevant committees and chairs
                                    Time Frame/means: In time for summer, 2008. Hold Volunteer Appreciation Day, create specific volunteer job descriptions, an interview process for new volunteers, and a more formal training program.
 
                        4) Recruit Interns from local colleges
                                    Responsibility: Board, Collections Manager
                                    Time Frame/means: For summer, 2008.
 
                        5) Establish Building and Grounds Committee to oversee maintenance  
                                    Responsibility: Board   
                                    Time Frame/means: Immediate, by recruiting chair and members, establish maintenance plans for both facilities
 
                        6) Expand paid staff to include executive director, possibly part-time for first few years
                                    Responsibility: Board
                                    Time Frame/means: 2009, through fundraising and development.
           
            D. Fund-raising
                        1) Re-institute Annual Giving Campaign.
                                    Responsibility: Board
                                    Time Frame/means: Fall, 2008. First year goal: $5,000, to be increased annually.
 
                        2) Replace barn roof ($30,000-40,000)
                                    Responsibility: Board
                                    Time Frame/means: Summer, 2008. Initiate fund-raising drive and  seek grants
 
                        3) Increase other Support
                                    Responsibility: Board, relevant committee chairs
                                    Time Frame/means: Immediate. Seek new means of income   through strategies such as soliciting sponsors for events, in-kind  donations from businesses, advertising for newsletter, and possibly                                    on-line sales through the web site.  (See also B2-4, above.)
                       
                        4) Position the Society to be able to undertake a major capital campaign to  upgrade facilities for collections care and display, as well as programs, and fund-raisers.  Specifics to be determined through on-going planning, but expected to be in the range of at least  $200,000-$500,000.
                                    Responsibility: Board
                                    Time Frame/means: 2010, through implementation of this plan.
           
 

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