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Wilmington Historical Society
Minutes of Meeting
7:00 PM, Wednesday, November 17, 2004
E. M. Cooper Library


Merri C. Peck
Bill Waldy
Doug Wolfe
Steve Connor
Bob Cressey
Nancy Cressey
Sidney Maxwell

Vice-President Merri Peck called the meeting to order.

Nancy Cressey made a motion to accept the October minutes with correction of typos identified by Steve Connor. Steve seconded the motion. All voted in favor.

Bob Cressey gave the treasurer’s report. Our bank balance is $1,894.45. Steve made a motion to accept the report and it was seconded by Doug Wolfe. All voted in favor.

Merri reported on communications. Karen wrote thank you notes to Mr. & Mrs. Hockert and Ginny Crispell for their work on the Films on the Ausable project. She also sent a thank you to Matt George for placing a photo she submitted in the newsletter of the Civil War Roundtable. Oscar Maynard is one of the individuals in the photo. Another note was sent to Reverend Peter and Phyllis Francis for donation of two glass display cases, and one to Robert Schneider for his portrayal of an Irish Immigrant at the Festival of Colors.

We received a note from Bill Carr in which he included a short article which referred back to a 1920 newspaper article about E. M. Cooper’s bequest to the library in his will. E. M. Cooper had donated generously to the library during his lifetime as well and because of his gifts it was one of the best libraries in the country for a town the size of Wilmington. Doug mentioned that we should obtain a copy of the complete article.

Merri advised that we received our report from Liselle LaFrance, who was our facilitator for the Get Ready Grant and presided over a meeting with the Board of Trustees on November 3rd. Merri summarized the report briefly. It reiterated what was discussed at the session with the board, primarily what our strengths and weaknesses are, what we like and dislike about our organization and what is unique about the history and town of Wilmington. The main recommendations were that we develop a new mission statement which is more dynamic and specific to Wilmington, develop a strategic plan and apply for the Get Set Grant. The report also contained examples of mission statements and strategic plans from other organizations. Nancy had previously written a draft of a new mission statement which had been distributed to the board members as a starting point for discussion. Merri asked that we all try to come up with ideas so we can put together our new mission statement by the next meeting.

Merri reported that we have the following inventory of Dr. Hinds’ books on hand at present:
1850s Volume—8 copies
1860s Volume—8 copies
1870s Volume—7 copies

Merri said that Jerry Bruce has asked that the town be allowed to purchase a set of the books at our cost and she is handling this transaction. She will also give Nancy a copy of the book order form to email to Patrick McIntyre for inclusion on our website.

Doug reported for the Publications and Programs Committee that he is working on creating a walking tour guide and map that can be used as a warm weather activity. He will get together with Karen on this project.

Merri gave the report for the Membership and Nominations Committee. She asked for thoughts on the new membership brochure which we need to create soon. Karen had mentioned that we should select a couple of dates in January to accomplish this task. We decided that it should be within a few days after the meeting, but we will wait to select the date(s). Merri mentioned that we need to contact ORDA to see if they will continue to offer the free pass to the toll road as a membership incentive. The general consensus on the design of the brochure was that we should keep it basically in the same format. Some ideas suggested were to change the pictures and incorporate a time line. We could change the paragraph on “What will your membership do?” to what has been done over the past year and what we are working on now.

Merri reported for the Library, Museum and Historic Sites Committee that Cara Page is working with the library for evening outreach programs. They want to get the WHS involved and have us develop a series of presentations.

Merri mentioned that it is time for us to submit our Upstate History Alliance grant for planning, the Get Set Grant. Doug showed us an article about the Lake Placid Historical Society receiving a $2400 grant from the Frances Douglass Silleck Fund at the Adirondack Community Trust (ACT). He suggested that it would be a good idea for us to look into getting a grant from this organization.

Doug reported on progress with the trailer. It is now on site behind the community center, but the wind shifted the trailer on the blocks. It needs to be moved and reoriented slightly to allow for more protection from the wind. We need some more concrete blocks to set the trailer on and the flooring and lighting still has to be installed. Merri agreed to donate some concrete blocks and Doug and Steve will get the trailer moved into position this Saturday.

Steve has been talking to an Amish wheelwright about getting the wheels of the gun carriage rebuilt. He needs to get the exact measurements and submit a request for an estimate. Steve also went to look at some wheels that Dana Peck has. Doug pointed out that there is an interesting history associated with the wagons used for lumbering and said he wants to go see the wheels that Dana Peck has on his property.

Merri has been inputting records into the Past Perfect software program. She likes the program but reports that progress is slow because it takes a long time to enter the records properly with enough detail. She has entered the Congregation Church records using a CD. Bob advised that the membership portion of the program also takes a long time to input. We cannot import the data from Excel unless we pay for an upgrade and it is not worth the cost for the number of members we have to enter.

Our website is progressing—Patrick McIntyre has been fine-tuning the pictures and entering more information. He has entered the website into a number of search engines. Doug mentioned that the program schedule on the website is out of date and needs updating.

Bob Cressey recently went to the Town Hall and photographed an old engineering report that was done for the proposed dam construction in June 1936. There were some old pictures with the report that he also photographed. All the photos are on CD. Nancy will burn copies of the CD for Doug and Merri.

Karen sent a letter to the Mountain Artists to put back in play our request for their help to improve the looks of the storage trailer. She also contacted the Garden Club.

Merri reported that we received a second letter from Charles Haselton about a Haselton Cemetery Sign. Mr. Haselton is willing to pay for a sign which would display a map of the cemetery with the location for each person buried there. Karen forwarded a copy of the letter to the Wilmington Town Board and it was put on the agenda for the November 10th meeting. We are not aware of the outcome of that meeting. The problem appears to be that there is no map of Haselton Cemetery. It was suggested that an aerial photograph would be the easiest way to map the cemetery. Perhaps we could try to get a grant for this project.

The first item of new business was future presentation possibilities. Doug suggested we talk to other historical societies about exchange of speakers.

We had an email from Anna Court in response to a message from Karen about grant writing. Anna said she is starting a business doing grant writing and wanted to know if the WHS would be interested in hiring her at some point. It was generally agreed that our financial resources would not permit us to pay for a grant writer at this time.

Doug mentioned that the NYS Archive Documentary Heritage Program Grant is due December 3rd. The WHS has not evolved to the point where we are able to meet all their requirements at this time, and the complexity of their grant application precludes our being able to meet the deadline in any case. We should keep this program in mind for the future. For the present we might want to try and obtain grants from some of the simpler programs such as ACT or International Paper.

Bill Waldy donated four old photos of the Whitebrook Motel.

Our next meeting is January 19th. Julia Robinson will give a presentation on antiques.

Bob made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Steve seconded the motion and all voted in favor.

Respectfully submitted,
Nancy Cressey


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