more about the Mission of the North Andover Historical Society
Since it was founded in 1913, the North Andover Historical Society has continued to actively collect, preserve and share our town's history while raising excitement about the town and region's unique cultural heritage. Genealogists, teachers, scholars, researchers and local civic groups regularly utilize the rich resources of our archives. Changing and permanent exhibits, special events, lectures and regularly scheduled public hours at historic properties are some of the many ways that the Society brings the local history alive for its constituents.
During the past few years, we have developed a strong online presence through our website but more importantly on our Facebook page, providing digital access to many photos and other resources in our collections and engaging the viewers in a two way conversation about North Andover's past. We are most proud of our 45-year history of working for the school children of North Andover. During this time, we have established a close partnership with the local teachers at various grade levels and have offered teacher training and access to primary sources when requested. We have collaborated on the development of social studies kits for grades K-1 to support early learning initiatives. We continue to invite local teachers to contribute post-visit activity materials for a "pop-up" exhibit, which are featured in our History Discovery Room. In our new venture of saving the textile based programming from the closed American Textile History Museum in Lowell we have expanded our audience into Lowell and Lawrence. To do so, we secured a three year diminishing grant from the Stevens Foundation to support the cost of their former Educator on a part time basis. We will receive our last payment in May 2018.
Our mission is clearly three-fold: collecting, preservation and education. The North Andover Historical Society sets and strives to complete planned goals to fulfill its stated purpose. Under a grant from the Essex County Community Foundation, the Society followed through with tactics from our Strategic Plan (2/1/2009). Our educational offerings play a major role in who we are and what we do best.
We continue to work on our multi-year digitization project, resulting in shared images appearing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, the North Andover Patch, the Eagle Tribune's "Merrimack Valley Memories" book series, and in North Andover classrooms.
As we look to expand our educational outreach, we have completed our History Discovery Room which offers families the opportunity to explore the past at their own pace and follow their individual or group's interests. The newly added textile hands-on materials have greatly expanded the potential of this space. After working with the pre-K/K students at the Andover SHED program, we have continued our efforts for these younger learners and have developed programming for both on-site and off-site groups. Our new textile arts programs are popular in both Lowell and Lawrence and are requested by area scout groups. We look forward to serving the soon to be opened North Andover Early Childhood Center during the 18/19 school year.
The North Andover Historical Society Board of Directors has an executive committee of 4 positions: President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary. Combined with the body of Directors at Large, the total number can range from a minimum of 9 to a maximum of 15. The current board consists of 14 Directors. Each term is 3 years, renewable for a second term before an individual must resign for at least one year. Officers' terms are one year. The current staff consists of a full-time Executive Director/Educator and Program Director, a part-time Curator of Archival Material (20 hrs./wk.), a part-time Textile Arts Educator (contract basis) and a part-time Collection Manager (7 hours/wk.). Key positions are filled with graduate level museum and history degrees and more than 50 years of experience; all have training and prior museum experience. Our volunteers participate in many roles, from interpretation to IT services; research to cataloging and of course, programs and general assistance.
First and foremost, the North Andover Historical Society seeks, saves and shares local history through its archives, exhibits and varied programs for children, families and adults. Archival collections are utilized by researchers, staff, educators as well as a variety of town departments. Research numbers, even during the highest volume year (270 for extended FY16; 235 for 2017), do not reflect the time and expense staff and volunteers expend on cataloging and preserving these artifacts.
The first experience a child has at an unfamiliar place is imprinted: we recognize this critical initial impression and strive to make it a positive memory. Our introductory site visit is based at Johnson Cottage and is offered on a town wide basis and to other groups including private schools, out-of-town students and home-schooled children. In this economy, much of our success has been with local schools and groups who have participated before and therefore are familiar with the quality of these programs. Our fees are consistently lower than the local retail value and we offer fully subsidized programs when the need arises -- two important factors in encouraging local schools to attend. This has allowed us to continue drawing a larger and more diverse audience of younger people through our doors—and we hope to continue to do so.
Underserved students can also gain access through web-based research and digital images--this year we launched an online exhibit on North Andover veterans from the French & Indian Wars through the Second World War. All in-classroom presentations are offered free of charge. We continue to expand our programming for off-site groups of our newest audience of early childhood learners. We are experiencing great success of textile based programming from the American Textile History Museum, despite the limited availability of the Textile Educator. These programs have given us increased resources and a wider audience in both Lowell and Lawrence and access to the Girls Inc. program in Lowell. It is hoped that within the next two years these programs will reach an acceptable level of financial sustainability.