Vision 2000, Stage One Plan
Table of Contents
This is a document about change and institutional transformation. It outlines the initial recommendations and plans of the Ohio Historical Society's strategic planning process, VISION 2000: Creating a Future Worthy of Our Past. The Society can be rightfully proud of its heritage. Since its founding in 1885, it has developed many respected and exemplary programs that have helped preserve and interpret Ohio's past. Today, as Ohio nears the completion of its second century of existence, the Society aspires to be even more effective at fulfilling its basic purpose of using the past to help people improve their lives today and in the future. This document describes how we plan to do that through an institutional transformation process that will not only change the Ohio Historical Society but will also benefit the people we serve.
VISION 2000 is an extension of a strategic planning initiative begun in 1998 by the boards of trustees of both the Ohio Historical Society and its fundraising ally, the Ohio Historical Foundation. This document outlines the recommendations resulting from Stage One of the VISION 2000 planning process. Stage Two planning will commence upon the approval and implementation of the recommendations in this document; it will be completed by June 30, 2001. (A complete description of the planning process is included in Appendix A.)
Visionary, high achieving institutions respond first to a changing world, not by asking "How should we change?" but rather, "What do we stand for?" and "Why do we exist?" Having articulated their core purpose and beliefs (their core ideology), they then adapt their operating practices and strategies aggressively in order to respond to the changes in their external environment, while protecting their values and enduring mission.
With that in mind, VISION 2000 required our consideration and articulation of our basic purpose, values, and vision. These principles and beliefs are fundamental to our efforts. They define our institutional heritage, and they provide both the foundation and the guidance for our efforts in the future. These principles are outlined in the Core Ideology section of this report.
All plans and recommendations of the VISION 2000 Stage One plan further the values and aspirations outlined in our core ideology. In addition, however, the Society - like all outstanding institutions - must adapt to change. Thus, this plan also responds to key aspects of the strategic environment facing the Society at the beginning of the 21st century. These include:
These external factors, combined with our core ideology, led us to place priority in Stage One on activities and actions that will:
These audiences are especially important as the Society and Ohio enter the 21st century. During the next three years we will increasingly direct our resources toward programs that meet the needs and interests of these groups.
During the next three years there will be increased attention to Ohio’s heritage as the state prepares to celebrate its 200th birthday. The Society will certainly participate actively in those commemorative activities, but we will place special emphasis on developing programs that will grow out of and extend beyond the bicentennial years into the state’s third century. Many of the recommendations included in this plan are designed to achieve that goal.
Enhancing the Society's abilities to provide superlative learning experiences to target audiences is the central focus of Stage One plans. The Education Initiatives section of the report summarizes the initiatives in the areas of education and collections that will begin that process. Our network of historic sites and museums is also critically important to the process, and site operations recommendations are covered separately in a Sites Initiatives section. Recommendations on how best to construct and convey a comprehensive and compelling image of the Society that invites engagement by our existing and envisioned audiences are covered under Marketing and Advancement Initiatives. Finally, Stage One plans include steps that will help establish an internal organizational culture that supports the values and principles of our core ideology and helps us pursue the exciting aspirations outlined in our vision for the organization. Those recommendations are included in the Organizational Development Initiatives section of the report.
The Budget Considerations section of this plan includes information on the financial ramifications of this plan. In FY2001 we will devote a designated portion of the Society’s funds to support initial steps in pursuing the recommendations of the VISION 2000 plan. In addition, the Society will redirect resources throughout the organization to begin addressing the VISION 2000 priorities. This process will accelerate in Fiscal Years 2002/2003. The ramifications for the Society will be profound. This plan does not call for a continuous improvement agenda in which the Society continues its current activities in a more effective manner. Rather, it is a plan for changing what we do and the way we do it so we can better fulfill our mission.
The report concludes with a section outlining Recommendations for Stage Two planning activities, which will run from September 2000 through June 30, 2001. At the end of that period, we intend to have incorporated the rigorous planning and assessment efforts of VISION 2000 into the normal planning, budgeting, and implementation processes of the organization.
This document describes the first stages of a major transformation that will affect all aspects and activities of the Ohio Historical Society. The initiatives and recommendations of this report are, in effect, "seeds of change" that will eventually develop into a system of programs, services, resources, and - most important - people, working together in exciting new and effective ways to use the experiences of the past to improve people's lives. Through VISION 2000 we look to the future, but the changes we envision are beginning today. As they gain momentum, they will truly result in "a future that is worthy of our past."
Mission, Values, and Vision
As a foundation for this plan and for our efforts across the next ten years, the Society commits itself to the following statement that outlines our basic mission, values, and vision. It answers the fundamental questions of "Why do we exist? What do we stand for? and What do we want be become?" (An annotated version of this statement is included in Appendix B.)
The Ohio Historical Society Functional Mission Statement
The Ohio Historical Society provides direction, identity, education, and enlightenment to improve people’s lives today and in the future. To do this, we preserve, interpret, provide access to, and foster an appreciation of the evidence and the experience of the past, particularly of Ohio.
By 2010, the Ohio Historical Society will be the nation's preeminent state historical society. It will be a high performance organization committed to constant, measurable quality improvement and will be characterized by:
As the Stage One planning process unfolded, a number of "guiding principles" emerged that supported the functional mission statement and provided direction to the planning efforts. These also serve as foundational guidelines for efforts in the future. They include:
Central to the functional mission statement is the concept of customer service and focus. This is the fundamental starting point for all of our efforts, and it should guide our activities with our audiences and with each other.
Customer focus means more than customer service. It includes the concept of what historian David Thelen refers to as "shared authority," meaning that we listen to our constituencies and, in so doing, share with the people we serve decision making about our programs and services.
Central to VISION 2000 is the proposition that education - broadly defined - is the foremost function of the Society. From the perspectives of our audiences, learning - again, broadly defined - is the fundamental outcome that we aim to achieve. Our principal reason for being is to improve people's lives; we collect, preserve, and share evidence of the past in order to pursue this most basic purpose.
Every part of our organization should be actively involved in this effort to help people learn - about the past and about themselves. Our school programs, exhibits, workshops, seminars, publications, and site interpretation activities are part of the efforts, as are the reference services we provide to users of our library and other collections. Teamwork, integration, and coordination should be the hallmarks of all our efforts, and in our major endeavors we should bring to bear the abilities and the power of all parts of our organization.
Our collections - including our historical, archaeological, and natural sites - are essential to our ability to provide powerful learning situations and programs for our audiences. Current research indicates that organizations like ours are trusted and valued portals to the past largely because we enable people to be in close proximity to authentic evidence of the past.
We will use a variety of media and methods to pursue our educational function. Enhancing the experiences of audiences who visit us physically is of crucial importance, but we must also make effective use of new information technology that is rapidly increasing the types and numbers of our customers as well as the ways we can assist and engage them.
Our educational efforts should emphasize the concept of participatory history. We should encourage our audiences to interact intellectually and emotionally with historical evidence, with Society staff, and with each other in shared environments where they can connect, discover, and engage the past on their own terms, incorporating personal experiences. If we pursue these types of activities, our audiences will find them inspiring and entertaining, as well as educational.
Applying these principles, along with the purpose, values, and aspirations of our functional mission statement, will transform how we think of our organization and how we conduct our activities. The Ohio Historical Society will be an institution that begins its thinking with how we affect people's lives. Our programs and activities will enable individuals to encounter and experience evidence of the past in learning activities that are inspiring, engaging, and informative. These educational activities will be inextricably linked with the important evidence of the past represented in our collections and sites. And we will carry out our activities in a system of coordinated and integrated teamwork based on the concepts of mutual respect and service. In so doing, we will insure that the Ohio Historical Society will be the superlative institution that we envision and that the people of Ohio deserve.
This section has outlined the philosophical foundation of the VISION 2000 Stage One plan. The following pages describe the actions and initiatives that we will undertake during the next three years (Fiscal Years 2001 through 2003) in order to support the principles and aspirations of our core ideology within the context of the strategic environment that we face in September 2000.
The Ohio Historical Society intends to become an essential ally for every Ohioan seeking a fuller understanding of our state's past and our place in the myriad stories that reflect that past. The Society will concentrate its resources on the design and delivery of superlative educational experiences and services to the ultimate benefit of all Ohioans.
The Society is well positioned to provide outstanding educational programs. The Society's historical properties and collections and the talents of its staff represent extraordinary assets, and evolving technologies enable fuller access to these assets. But the key element in this Education Plan lies in our commitment to engage our audiences in a series of conversations to elicit their recommendations regarding how our resources might be most widely and effectively utilized. While we are seeking continuous improvement in how we do our jobs, we will be engaged in candid dialogue about what our jobs entail. We will seek a fuller awareness among our audiences of what our resources and capabilities include so that the public can make informed recommendations/requests of what they wish us to do and what issues/questions they wish us to address. Informed by these views, staff can apply their talents toward developing the exhibits, programs, materials, publications, and/or services that we are confident will address a confirmed area of public interest.
Based on a variety of pilot projects and grant-funded initiatives, the Society has learned much about what Ohio’s social studies teachers need to advance student learning. As a result, we intend immediately to move more significantly into production and distribution of educational materials and programs that meet the needs and expectations of this audience. This Stage One plan proposes to increase substantially the extent and availability of those types of educational offerings.
This Stage One plan also identifies two other major audiences: families and persons with avocational interests in history and the past. As with teachers, the Society is committing itself to developing constructive interactions with each of these groups to establish priorities for public programming and collection development and processing. The challenge before the Society is to ascertain the ways in which families and avocational devotees expend leisure time and discretionary resources toward engaging history. The opportunity before the Society is to provide environments (whether on-site or virtual) which these audiences see as attractive, accessible, and conducive to advancing their interests. Wherever the public pursues the past simply for the pleasure of the quest and/or the insights gained, learning is occurring. The Society seeks to establish itself more clearly and convincingly as a superb -- indeed, an irresistible -- conduit for those interests.
The Society’s collections (archives, library and museum) are critically important in this general education effort. They:
The Society’s collections play an essential role in current and future educational activities. The collections make education at the Ohio Historical Society stand above other educational institutions that lack ready access to primary source material and museum objects.
Because the collections are inseparably linked with the Society’s educational mission, our education tasks must consider both present and future customers. We must not only use collections to engage customers in learning today, but we must manage and preserve the collections so the Society can continue to provide distinctive learning opportunities in the future.
The Society is a statewide organization and a leader of other groups pursuing similar missions in Ohio. A number of the projects and activities called for in this plan will require the involvement of other historical organizations (along with their important collections and staff resources) in order to meet their potential.
The following initiatives will advance the Society's educational agenda during the next three years.
Classroom Educational Products and Services for Students
The Ohio Historical Society will dramatically accelerate its efforts to create and produce a variety of educational products and services, including multi-media programs, printed materials, electronic media, and physical materials to support participatory engagement in the classroom. We will place special emphasis on products and services that encourage students to make their own connections to the past.
Throughout the years, Ohio teachers have consistently indicated a need for Ohio-related educational materials that go beyond textbooks. Further, they have indicated that the most valuable activity that the Ohio Historical Society can engage in to enhance the teaching of Ohio studies is the production of effective instructional materials. The Society is uniquely positioned to provide the materials and professional expertise to fulfill this expressed desire of Ohio teachers. The popularity of the "Case History" loan kits, the What's The Point? CD-ROM, and distance learning programming are just a few examples that demonstrate the success of the Society's past endeavors. This initiative not only will expand and increase those efforts but also will draw from the strengths of the organization, most notably by offering the best of the Society's staff resources and collections (jump to Web Access to Collections).
To implement this initiative we will:
The electronic component of this initiative ensures the broad outreach of the services throughout the state of Ohio, while the various methods of delivery appeal to all learning styles. This initiative will demonstrate that the Society is committed to listening and responding to its audiences, both its new clients as well as existing ones, in new and innovative ways.
The Ohio Historical Society will make participation in National History Day one of its top educational priorities. The History Day competition encourages students to pursue the study of history and reinforces the importance of its presence in the curriculum of our schools. In addition, History Day provides a means by which community and political leaders can show support for the educational endeavors of their young students. These factors play an important role in the future of history and education in Ohio.
Ohio has a significant audience population composed of families with adolescent children. The History Day initiative will reach out to that audience, and especially to the middle and high school students who, traditionally, have been under-served by museums. It has the potential of reaching into every school system in Ohio.
The Society will undertake several initiatives to ensure increased and more effective participation of Ohio students in the National History Day program. We will create or develop:
This initiative will develop Ohio’s History Day competition into the premier program that leads the nation in student participation, successful entries, and sheer excitement and enthusiasm for the study of the past.
The Ohio Historical Society will establish new processes to produce stimulating exhibits that are responsive to the diverse needs, expectations, and learning styles of our audiences. These processes will be based on the following principles:
The Society will listen to its audiences through the use of front-end and formative evaluation studies to determine the merits and effectiveness of exhibit topics and techniques before designing and fabricating exhibits.
The Society will incorporate a variety of media in its major exhibits in order to make its visitors’ experiences more stimulating and effective.
The Society will make its major exhibits more interactive in its continuing efforts to involve its visitors with the content of its exhibits.
The Society will develop spaces within major exhibits to support complementary live programming. In addition, major exhibits initiatives will incorporate live programming to meet or exceed the needs and expectations of the Society’s visitors.
The Society will create environments around and within its exhibits that are warm and inviting. Elements of such environments will include easy access, pleasing lighting, attractive colors, adequate seating, pleasant dining facilities, and sufficient restroom facilities.
The Society will introduce one major, internally-produced exhibit in the Ohio Historical Center and one major site-based exhibit each year.
The introduction of front-end and formative evaluation, more media and interactive elements, and incorporated programming are steps that add time to the development of quality exhibits. To ensure adequate time for listening to its audiences and producing vibrant, media-rich, interactive exhibits, the Society will institute a three-year development cycle for each of its major exhibits.
To implement this new exhibit philosophy, the Society will develop a significant exhibit to open in the Ohio Historical Center in September 2003. This exhibit will play an important role in the Society’s efforts to commemorate the state’s bicentennial and will showcase the foregoing principles. The bicentennial exhibit will be the first OHS exhibit to be developed fully employing audience research and presented in a friendly, family-oriented environment where people can share their stories, participate in complementary programming, and interact with the objects and stories of the past.
Family History Programs
Family reunions are about people "coming home" and making their own connections with the past. This initiative will serve Ohio’s families, one of the Society’s primary Stage One audiences. It includes a two-tiered approach.
Family Reunion! Program
This program is designed specifically for families who celebrate "annual gathering" events. The Family Reunion! program will offer, at its most basic level, a low-cost venue for family functions. Scheduled by reservation, the facilities of a number of OHS sites, including the Ohio Historical Center, will be made available with the usual amenities (picnic tables, water fountains, restrooms, etc.) along with the added interest of the museum exhibits, library resources, or the site itself. Additionally, to make the family event even more meaningful, the Society will offer for purchase a menu of other services to encourage further exploration of a family’s past. These options will include:
The Family Reunion initiative will enhance and complement the Ohio Bicentennial Commission’s "Coming Home" theme, providing families with a range of activities in which to participate. Implementing this initiative will encourage family members to "come home," reunite, and share their experiences of Ohio’s past.
Family History Training Program
As a second component of this initiative the Society will develop genealogy workshops presented to family audiences throughout the state via video conferencing. These workshops will include an introduction to the resources available in the OHS library, information about how to use those resources, and instruction about how to use the Society’s online genealogical materials, including the death certificate index and a new Online Virtual Library of Ohio Genealogical Resources and Tutorial Guide.
As with the other education and learning programs outlined in this plan, the Family Reunion and Family History Training programs are grounded in the principles of shared authority and friendly environments at the Ohio Historical Center and all its sites. They recognize that Ohioans have their own stories and that those stories have meaning, not only to those who tell them, but also to those who listen to them. Central to these programs is the principle that Ohio Historical Society staff interact with participants and value their stories and their pasts.
Exemplary Access to Collections via the Web
A rapidly growing number of students, educators, university researchers and avocational enthusiasts use the World Wide Web to find the educational and reference information they need. We have a valuable presence on the web, providing instruction in a variety of ways. The following projects will use the Society’s web presence to provide direct access to collections that will provide content for educational products and services.
Online Collections Catalog Management
The most direct method of accessing information about our archives, library, and museum collections is the Online Collections Catalog (OCC) on the Society’s web site. It is available to all customers (including staff) at our reading rooms or through home, school, business or other online access points. Eventually, the OCC will make information about all collections available via the World Wide Web.
Several steps will improve the OCC, providing better access to our collections. These include:
Collections Image Database
We will develop a database of images that customers need – those most frequently requested from all collections to support OHS and other projects. The database will improve exhibits and publications, online and off line. It will benefit marketing and development activities. It will generate income. The database will reside on our web site to allow access by our audiences and staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week
The Ohio Memory Project will produce an online scrapbook of historical records and artifacts from archives, historical societies, libraries, and museums across the state. Supported by the Ohio Bicentennial Commission and modeled after the successful American Memory project of the Library of Congress (in which the Society was one of the inaugural participants), it will commemorate Ohio's history. Participation and cooperation are fundamental to its success. Institutions will be encouraged to work together on a local level, sharing both knowledge and resources. Potential audiences include students (such as History Day participants), teachers, genealogists, local historians, collectors, historic preservationists, archaeologists, academic historians, naturalists, the media, and our staff. Acting as a single point of access to historical materials of multiple types from a variety of institutions, the site will highlight connections among collections, providing more comprehensive coverage of the state's history than any single institution could. The scrapbook will identify hidden treasures that are currently inaccessible, raise awareness of state and local history, encourage teaching and study of Ohio history using primary sources, and promote academic scholarship and publishing. Long after the celebrations in 2003, the scrapbook will remain as an enduring and enriching lasting legacy of Ohio's bicentennial.
An important component ofOhio Memory will be online instructional information that helps students and adult viewers learn about the past via the images included in Ohio Memory. These educational materials will be shaped by teacher and student input.
Expanded Accessibility to the Ohio Historical Center and OHS Staff
Two actions will improve the historical content provided to targeted audiences, and significantly enhance customer service.
Expanded Online Research Support
We will establish a "real-time" Research Support Team to work with students, starting with Ohio History Day participants, at designated hours. Using Web Contact Center Software, we will establish online chat rooms where students can discuss their History Day projects with curators, collections access coordinators, and Education Resource Center and reference staff who will offer research support using our collections.
The open chat rooms will augment Society’s email reference service. The Archives/Library Division has offered this service since 1995, and Collections/Curatorial staff have responded to email questions since 1997. Email reference in both areas continues to grow, and the two have coordinated reference requests since 1998 to draw upon the most knowledgeable or appropriate staff for response. At times, the time delay between receipt and answering of a request has been frustrating, especially to students. The "real time" Research Support Team will respond to this concern.
Customers ask that our hours of operation be expanded, particularly beyond the 9-5-work week. Many of them travel from afar to visit the Ohio Historical Center and will appreciate an opportunity to see more while they are here. Others cannot fit visits to the Center around the demands of work and family. In response, we will revise operating hours at the Historical Center several days a week to enable greater access to our resources, including the archives/library reading room, museum exhibits, and the Education Resource Center. As part of the revised hours, a rotating schedule of curators will provide an "ask a curator" service. Curators and other staff will establish standard "office hours," set times when they are available for public questions and for appointments with students and others.
Improved Communication and Coordination
The Committee of Curators and the Archives/Library Collections Development Committee will be combined, and staff from other areas of the Society will be included in the new group. This new approach will help improve collections-related decisions, including planning for future collecting. It will also help provide an emphasis on customer service, audience participation, and support for educational and exhibit programs. In addition, the Society’s current Education Committee will be expanded to include additional collections staff. The collections and education committees will work closely together through overlapping staff as well as through periodic joint meetings and sub-committees. Both committees also will coordinate with other groups within the Society, such as the proposed marketing committee (see Marketing and Advancement Initiatives).
The Ohio Historical Society site system preserves cultural and natural resources. It also extends Society educational programs and activities to a wide range of audiences across the state. The sites enable our audiences to encounter the past firsthand – at locations where significant events took place and in facilities that bring our audiences into contact with the ‘real stuff’ of the past.
In 1993, the Ohio Historical Society launched the Gateway program to update the site system and change the way we developed, interpreted and marketed our sites. The VISION 2000 plan affirms the Gateway program and expands its context. We believe that the OHS site system can and should be one of the principal avenues or gateways through which Ohioans access and encounter this organization. The course of action recommended below addresses the establishment of policy guidelines that specify how sites should be added or deleted from the OHS system. Additional recommendations target development of local support for site activities and steps to make site management more effective and efficient, including determining whether or not certain sites should remain part of the site system. The plan also recommends the establishment of standards for visitor facilities and interpretive services.
Accessioning and Deaccessioning Sites
The Ohio Historical Society operates a site system composed of 64 properties, making it the largest of its type in the country. The system has grown in an eclectic and sporadic way, creating wide diversity in types of sites, management methodologies, and resource allocations. Because we believe that sites exist that would be appropriate additions to the OHS site system, it is important that we establish a coherent system for determining whether a particular site should be added. Staff have developed an initial accessioning policy and procedures to address this need.
The policy outlines ten criteria to be used in evaluating sites for inclusion. These include: significance, theme, integrity, financial viability, collections, local community support, appropriateness, legal title, geographic balance, and petition evidence. The proposed accessioning policy also includes an application process. Procedures for Board evaluation of a proposed new site are outlined, as well as recommended options for Board action following completion of a property evaluation.
This policy will be reviewed and refined for finalization by the end of Stage Two of the planning process.
From time to time it may be appropriate that the Society divest (deaccession) a site or sites. Transfer of a sites property to another agency, governmental unit, or non-profit organization requires a recommendation of the Society’s trustees and an act of the General Assembly. Staff have produced a draft Deaccessioning Policy. This policy and procedures will be reviewed and refined for finalization by the end of Stage Two of the planning process.
Audience Research and Community Support
We will conduct a variety of activities to gather and analyze information about site visitors and supporters. That information will help the Society integrate site programs more effectively into the Stage One educational initiatives. It will also help the Society obtain the effective involvement and support of individuals and groups who are particularly interested in site efforts. This could include the development of formal groups to assist the Society regarding the operation of key sites. We will focus on the Society's Gateway sites as well as Adena and Dunbar House, which are the focus of recent or anticipated major capital improvements and which already generate significant local community interest.
Evaluation and Classification of Sites Properties
Staff have classified sites based on their management, operation, and type and have evaluated them using eight of the ten accessioning criteria developed for review of potential new properties. Thirty-one do not meet key criteria of significance, theme, or integrity. During Stage Two, staff will review these sites comprehensively and make recommendations regarding their future in the site system.
Five sites of national significance that are currently managed by others (Hayes, Rankin, Fallen Timbers, Glacial Grooves, and Octagon Mound) will be evaluated to determine if they should be directly managed by the Society. Sites currently managed by the Society will be evaluated to determine if some other kind of management arrangement would be more appropriate, especially in terms of net cost of operation of the sites in relationship to the significance of the site, visitation, outreach activities, and educational programming. We will establish operating agreements for the National Afro-American Museum and Dunbar House with Central State University.
Facilities – Activities – Programs
The sites action team identified a total of 21 types of visitor facilities, public use resources, and programs available at one or more sites. Looking across the OHS sites system, the resources we offer range from just one at McCook Monument to seventeen at Fort Ancient.
The Society must provide basic amenities at all sites to the extent possible and expand activities and services wherever possible to make our sites more attractive and accessible to visitors. Using exterior interpretive devices, distance learning, and other educational services our sites can significantly extend service to Ohio’s citizens and broaden the reach of the Society across the state. During Stage Two, staff will develop specific recommendations to incorporate site resources into the educational initiatives recommended in this plan.
MARKETING AND ADVANCEMENT INITIATIVES
To achieve its vision, the Society must encourage participation in its programs and develop support for those endeavors. Outlined below are the general steps that the Society will take during the next three years to achieve that participation and support. These general recommendations are supported by a detailed marketing and communications plan (including general recommendations for private fund development efforts in conjunction with the Ohio Historical Foundation and action steps for public affairs initiatives that will enhance our partnership with the State of Ohio). The marketing plan recommends steps to develop our institutional capacity for marketing, development, and public affairs in year one, preparing to launch in 2002 – as activities accelerate to commemorate the state’s bicentennial - a comprehensive marketing campaign that supports OHS as a superlative educational institution.
The plan pursues these strategic goals. We will:
Internal/External Team Approach
Developing a team approach to everything we do is a critical component of the Society’s planned organizational identity. It must become a part of our culture and the way we solve problems, identify opportunities, and function on behalf of our current and future customers. To do this, in Fiscal Year 2001 we will:
Audience Focus and Development of a Powerful Brand Identity
Customer focus and shared authority will serve as guiding principles for our marketing efforts. The Society must identify key priority audiences and establish mechanisms to increase our understanding of and communication with those audiences. Target audiences include teachers/students, families, and individuals with avocational interests in aspects of our endeavors. Family audiences are further identified as families with younger children at home; families with teenagers; senior citizens with grandchildren; and young adults (singles and couples) without children.
In year one we will:
Using the audience information gained in FY2001, we will develop and launch a major marketing brand campaign in 2002 and 2003 that leverages and supports the activities celebrating the state’s bicentennial. The major brand elements of this campaign will be outlined at the Society's 2001 annual meeting. The campaign itself will be launched in spring 2002 and extend through 2003 and the state's bicentennial celebration. The campaign will be comprehensive, including marketing and public relations efforts.
One-to-One (Relationship) Marketing
The Society will base its marketing and development approach on the principles of one-to-one (relationship) marketing. We will concentrate on developing enhanced relationships with our current customers, learning about their interests and needs, and refining our services to increasingly meet those needs. In so doing, we will increase their commitment to and support of our efforts. We will:
Integrated Marketing, Private Fund Development, and Public Affairs
The Society must integrate and coordinate its efforts to attract and motivate customers with its efforts to attract private and public funding support. This involves ensuring that there is effective communication and coordination with the Ohio Historical Foundation and with the State of Ohio.
The Society must improve coordination with and support the efforts of the Ohio Historical Foundation, which in turn develops private support for the Society’s programs and activities. To do so, we will:
We must develop an enhanced government relations program. To do so, we will:
ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES
Visionary, best-practice organizations have well-developed core ideologies that articulate fundamental values and purpose. They fervently strive to preserve their core ideologies and stimulate progress by nurturing organizational cultures that support their ideologies in concrete ways, send a consistent set of reinforcing signals, and create a sense of belonging to something special. The VISION 2000 mission statement establishes a core ideology based upon a set of values that focus on customer service, teamwork, and cooperation. For the Society to evolve into the preeminent organization envisioned in this plan, it must develop and sustain a culture that is in alignment with, and supportive of, its core values and purpose. To that end, the Ohio Historical Society has developed strategic plans to transform its organizational culture in the following areas.
The Ohio Historical Society will develop and adopt a Customer Service Policy that articulates the organization’s commitment to superior customer service and establishes customer service standards. That policy will be founded upon the concept that the Society exists, first and foremost, to serve its customers. The Society will also develop complementary mechanisms for implementing that policy. They will include:
Staff Education, Training, and Development
The Ohio Historical Society will develop and adopt a Staff Education, Training, and Development Policy that establishes its commitment to providing professional growth and continuous learning opportunities for all of its employees. That policy will be based upon the conviction that quality products and services begin with a dedicated, satisfied, educated, and empowered staff. To ensure that all OHS employees benefit from professional growth opportunities requisite to delivering the outstanding products and customer service to which the organization aspires, the Society will:
Teamwork and Trust
The Society will adopt a Teamwork Mission Statement that encourages the effective and creative use of teamwork at all levels of the organization. That mission statement will support the concept that teamwork generally results in better products and services. To promote more effective teamwork, the Society will:
Rewards and Recognition
The Society will develop and adopt an Employee Rewards and Recognition Policy that affirms the importance of recognizing and rewarding individuals and teams of employees for outstanding effort or achievement in pursuit of the organization’s mission. In addition, the Society will institute a series of practices to implement the Employee Rewards and Recognition Policy.
The Society will undertake a thorough review of the organization’s present compensation system and subsequently articulate a comprehensive compensation philosophy that will:
Organizational Development Advisory Committee
The Society will establish an Organizational Development Advisory Committee to assist and advise the personnel office, senior management, director, and board of trustees on matters regarding the organization’s culture. This committee will represent a wide diversity of employee classifications and will meet regularly to monitor the status of the Society’s organizational culture.
The Ohio Historical Society enters the 21st century committed to establishing itself as a premier customer service organization, as well as a preeminent historical society. Adopting and implementing the initiatives outlined above will provide the foundation needed to attain these ambitious goals. In the end, it will be the efforts of a dedicated, educated, empowered, and coordinated staff that will determine the success or failure of this strategic plan.
The Society began addressing new initiatives last fiscal year by segregating funds in the budget for these purposes. Various areas received these funds, with a primary focus on three activities:
Again this fiscal year (FY2001), the Society has established a separate reserve as part of the operating budget to address designated priority needs. This reserve was created by "taking off the top" resources to meet those needs. The majority of this $1,379,000 reserve (80%) will be used to address employee wage increases ($491,000 payroll reserve) and strategic planning initiatives ($593,000 VISION 2000 reserve). About seventy percent of the payroll reserve has been allocated to cover the across-the-board staff increases effective the beginning of the fiscal year. The VISION 2000 reserve will be used to address the recommendations outlined in this report. In addition, the Society will redirect resources from the present operating budget to a certain extent in order to pursue the VISION 2000 recommendations.
We created this pool of resources the past two fiscal years to address strategic planning initiatives, by reducing most divisional budgets (about 3%), thus causing operating units to scale back their operations to that degree. Additional redirecting of resources will be in order as we go forward in this undertaking.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR VISION 2000 FUNDING
Funding the efforts addressed in this plan will help continue and expand what began last year.
Our current financial resources will not fund all of the plans and recommendations prepared by the VISION 2000 action teams. Some of the recommendations will be deferred to next fiscal year and beyond, and the scope of effort for other recommendations will be increased over time.
To continue going forward in a meaningful way, recommendations for Stage One total $687,300 (calculated on an annual basis). The VISION 2000 reserve for FY2001 was established at $593,000. At this time we will proceed up to the board-approved level of $593,000. The actual FY2001 cost will be less than the projected $687,300 because almost three months of the fiscal year has elapsed and certain of the anticipated new hires will be deferred until the third quarter of the fiscal year. By delaying the hiring of these individuals until after the start of the calendar year, we will have the additional benefit of having received initial recommendations from the state Office of Budget and Management in regards to state funding for the next biennium (FY’s 2002/2003). We may adjust Stage One implementation actions based on the Governor’s recommendations at that time.
The Stage One recommendations include increasing the number of full time equivalents, both contract and permanent, by nine, an additional ongoing expense. Anticipated new hires in Fiscal Year 2001 include the following:
As noted above, action on three of these positions will be deferred until late in the fiscal year when adequate funding is assured. Those positions are the family history coordinator, collection access coordinator, and the part time assistant registrar.
Starting October 1st, new hires will be limited to those that advance our planning priorities or that address health or safety concerns. Positions funded from grant or other restricted resources may require an exception to this policy. Vacancy credits (funds budgeted for authorized positions that are, or become, vacant) will be captured centrally, and the areas generating the vacancy credit will have their budgets adjusted accordingly. This action will help to advance (and fund) our strategic priorities.
The Next Biennium
In our state operating budget request for fiscal years 2002 and 2003 due in early October, we will seek from the State of Ohio a significant increase in funding to address the Society’s ongoing needs and the recommended projects included in this plan. However, based on past experience, current budget guidelines, and the fact that the school funding issue will need to be addressed in the State’s budget, we should anticipate only an inflationary increase in our operating appropriations.
This fiscal year we can expect only limited increases in earned revenue categories as a result of strategic planning initiatives in the marketing and education areas. Our expectations will be greater in 2002 and beyond when fully developed programs and a significant marketing campaign will begin to generate increased participation and corresponding revenue.
The Ohio Historical Foundation’s vital fundraising efforts will become even more crucial. The Society’s senior management will work closely with the foundation board of trustees to communicate and advocate our goals and priorities. We look forward to their ongoing support to help us achieve our goals.
Finally, and most importantly, we will need to make further substantial reallocations of resources to enable the VISION 2000 strategic planning effort to go forward as envisioned. During the next several months, as part of Stage Two activities, the Project Management Team and other senior management personnel will need to determine what programs and services may need to operate at a reduced level of effort or not at all in accordance with our priorities. We will also consider outsourcing certain services if they can be done more efficiently and economically. Implementation of the recommendations resulting from this analysis will begin with the advent of the next fiscal year (FY2002).
The Society cannot be all things to all people. We will need to make hard choices regarding what we do and in what manner, as contemplated by the VISON 2000 strategic plan. These decisions, however, will make the Society a stronger organization, focused on the key strategic activities that can move us forward to our envisioned future of our organization.
VISION 2000 Stage One Budget Recommendations
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STAGE TWO
Stage Two of the Ohio Historical Society’s VISION 2000 institutional planning process will extend from September 2000 through June 2001. This time frame includes the formal adoption of the VISION 2000 Stage One plan by the Society’s Board of Trustees and the introduction and adoption of the State of Ohio FY 2002-2003 biennial budget.
The primary focus of Stage Two will be implementation of the Stage One planning recommendations. In order to advance these initiatives, the Society must enhance and coordinate its various organizational capacities. Outlined below are the key policy and program initiatives that will require priority attention in Stage Two.
The organizational infrastructure created to advance Stage One should be retained in Stage Two. This includes the Project Management Team (PMT) and all action teams: Education, Collections, Site Operations, Marketing and Development, and Organizational Values and Culture. Although each of these teams should be retained, there should be a review of team membership and mission. Policies should be established to allow members to stay on the team for set terms thus facilitating an appropriate division of labor as well as broad-based staff representation. Additionally, interdepartmental communication and coordination will be enhanced through the creation of various planning and implementation committees, teams, and forums within the Society as recommended in the Stage One plan. These groups will eventually serve as replacements for the Stage One action teams.
Consistent with approved plans, action teams will work with the PMT and senior managers to devise appropriate Stage Two work plans, which will be coordinated with and approved by the PMT and senior management. The work plans, which will evolve directly from the Stage One planning documents created by each action team, should be organized by fiscal year for fiscal years 2001, 2002, and 2003.
Efforts should also be made to analyze the organization and structure of senior management to ensure that a coherent, coordinated and productive set of policies and practices are in place to better manage the Society’s strategic planning process as well as overall institutional affairs.
The significance of the state FY 2002-2003 budget cycle for the VISION 2000 plan cannot be disputed. It will provide the fiscal foundation for Society operations and for VISION 2000. The Society will need to adjust its budget within whatever parameters are approved by the State of Ohio; this adjustment will be necessary to bring fiscal coherence to an evolving set of institutional plans and priorities. In this regard, the VISION 2000 Stage One plan was created using the fiscal assumption that Society operations would be funded at current levels with cost-of-living adjustments for fiscal years 2002-2003. Financial resources exceeding this assumption will be used to accelerate VISION 2000 plans, including bicentennial projects.
This changing environment will require the creation of a formal budget planning process within Stage Two; otherwise, policy decisions and implementation plans could be undermined by a lack of fiscal resources. Within this budget planning process will be a careful review of all Society activities in an effort to identify programs that can either be made more efficient and therefore reduce costs, or activities that can be eliminated entirely with the savings redirected to higher priority areas. A formal cost savings plan will be created in the Stage Two planning process with implementation to begin on July 1, 2001, the beginning of the state's FY 2002-2003 biennial budget.
The budgets and financial plans described above will include consideration of the Society's capital needs and opportunities. The Society will finalize its proposal for the state FY 2003/2004 capital budget in the months immediately following the completion of the Stage Two planning period (June 30, 2001). That proposal will recommend projects that support VISION 2000 initiatives and priorities.
Next steps directly related to the creation and implementation of Stage Two will focus on the following project priorities:
The role of the PMT will be crucial to the success of VISION 2000. Stage Two will see the PMT’s role shift in the direction of implementation with a particular focus on enhancing management support systems and staff communication. In this regard, particular efforts will be made to focus planning efforts on quality improvements that are quantifiable and results-oriented. Special efforts will also be made to encourage the continuation of positive changes in the Society’s organizational culture.
The VISION 2000 planning effort flows from strategic assessment and planning conducted in 1998 and 1999 by the Strategic Planning Committee of the Ohio Historical Society and the Ohio Historical Foundation. The May 1999 report of that group serves as the foundation for the VISION 2000 planning efforts. Following acceptance of the report by the Society's board of trustees, the Society retained R. Gregory Browning, former director of the state Office of Budget and Management, to assist in refining and implementing recommendations of the May report. Dr. Browning, working with the director and senior staff, recommended proceeding in a staged approach, concentrating on organizational capacity issues and the development of an effective education plan for the organization. He also recommended the creation of a planning management team to work with the director and senior staff to guide the process.
That eight-person project management team (PMT) began to work in December 1999. First priorities were to identify clearly the key deliverables of Stage One and to create a planning organization and process that could attain those deliverables.
The team identified the following as key outcomes for Stage One:
By mid-January the Project Management Team had drafted the functional mission statement. It had also created a planning schedule that called for a final Stage One planning report completed by September 1 and the creation of five action teams to work with the PMT in developing the plan. The Society's board ratified the mission statement and the basic Stage One planning approach at a full board planning retreat in late January 2000.
The five action teams began their work in early March. Each of these teams consisted of from eight to ten staff members representing different divisions of the organization. The five teams were:
The team’s first efforts were to coordinate baseline and benchmark assessment efforts. This work took place from March through May. By March 31, the teams had completed their baselining reports, and they completed their benchmark analysis on June 1. During the benchmark phase, teams sought comparative and best practice information from the Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania state historical organizations as well as 26 other historical/cultural organizations, nine private corporations, six universities, the State of Ohio, and six consultants and/or consulting firms. Consultants used in the process included David Thelen of Indiana University, co-author of Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in American Life, Louise Stevens, President of ArtsMarket, one of the country's foremost experts on market research and planning for cultural organizations, and Donna Williams from the Pennsylvania Museums and Historical Commission.
Based in part on the analysis of this baseline/benchmark information, action teams developed specific recommendations. Their assignments called for them to make specific recommendations for Fiscal Year 2001, with additional recommendations for fiscal years 2002 and 2003. Their reports were completed on August 4. The PMT then worked with those recommendations to create this unified Stage One plan.
This document flows from and is supported by the reports of the action teams. Combined, the team baseline, benchmark, and planning reports total over 700 pages of valuable and detailed assessment and planning information. Those reports can be found at the VISION 2000 web site (http://inside.ohiohistory.org/vision2k)
The Society will begin to implement Stage One plans in September 2000. It will also continue its VISION 2000 strategic planning process. Stage Two will extend from September 2000 through June 2001. At the end of that period, the VISION 2000 planning effort will be integrated into the organization’s ongoing planning, budgeting, implementation, and evaluation process.
The Ohio Historical Society Functional Mission Statement
The Ohio Historical Society provides direction, identity, education, and enlightenment to improve people’s lives today and in the future. To do this, we preserve, interpret, provide access to, and foster an appreciation of the evidence and the experience of the past, particularly of Ohio.
We strive to provide high-quality experiences for all of our customers. We endeavor to identify and satisfy the needs and expectations of our customers. We seek and value their feedback and opinions about the products and services that we provide. We apply what we learn from our customers to constantly improve the quality of our products and services.
Our staff is the foundation of our enterprise. We will provide a work environment in which all staff realize their importance to our efforts, participate in decisions that affect them, and take pride in their own accomplishments as well as those of their fellow employees.
We strive for excellence in every endeavor we undertake. Our emphasis is on quality above quantity. Good enough never is. If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.
We are action-oriented. We will not become victims of paralysis through analysis. We believe that true progress is the cumulative result of small steps. Our focus is on identifying manageable tasks and producing tangible results as quickly as possible. We are more interested in what we are able to produce each day than we are in what stands in our way.
We believe in the value of the real thing, and we strive for accuracy in every endeavor we undertake. We place people in the presence of the actual evidence of the past in ways that produce trust in our efforts to provide accurate and valuable information about their heritage.
We encourage teamwork and cooperation in all our endeavors. We believe that the collective knowledge, skills, and resources of a cooperative team produce better results than individual efforts. The achievements of an organization are the combined efforts of each individual. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
We are committed to the concept of life-long learning, not only in our educational services, but also in the on-going training, professional development, and personal growth that we provide to and demand of staff.
By 2010, the Ohio Historical Society will be the nation's preeminent state historical society. It will be a high performance organization committed to constant, measurable quality improvement and will be characterized by:
A passion for service
High quality collections and sites
Superlative education and interpretation programs
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