STRATEGIC PLAn for the no. andover historical society

developed January 2009

The North Andover Historical Society is a non-profit educational institution, dedicated to preserving, acquiring, teaching, exhibiting and researching North Andover history, which it does mainly through its collections.

This institution serves as a repository for artifacts, archival information, and objects made or used in the North Andover area from the 17th Century onward.

In addition, the North Andover Historical Society supports and promotes the architectural and landscape heritage of the town.

— Mission Statement Adopted April 12, 2000


 “What is Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning is a disciplined effort to produce decisions and actions that guide and shape what the organization is, what it does, and why it does it (Bryson, 1995). Both strategic planning and long range planning cover several years. However, strategic planning requires the organization to examine what it is and the environment in which it is working. Strategic planning also helps the organization to focus its attention on the crucial issues and challenges. It, therefore, helps the organization's leaders decide what to do about those issues and challenges.”

A Practical Guide for the Process, Jan W. Lyddon, Ph.D., Western Michigan University

The 2009 Strategic Plan looks forward to 2013, which will be the 100th Anniversary of the Society. The plan is meant to position the Society to meet the challenges of its second century. Yes, the plan is ambitious and will require a stretch but it is doable. It will be used as a vehicle for strengthening the Society, its Mission and the Board. A clear plan with defined goals can be used to recruit additional people who are excited about a particular issue and willing, even eager to roll up their sleeves to get things done.  Obviously an interest, better yet, a passion for the mission of the Historical Society helps a lot.

The Strategic Plan outlines what we as an organization really want and can be. The strategic plan provides a set of strategies that will be a guide to future choices. The Tactics through which the plan is implemented should be reviewed annually by the board for the purpose of reviewing, adjusting, and adding new tactics. 

Ongoing operational changes/opportunities and discussions have already moved in directions contained in parts of the Strategic Plan:

  1. Staffing changes have been implemented.
  2. Membership initiatives with the schools have begun.
  3. A plan is in place to implement a new, "hands-on" reinterpretation of Johnson Cottage
  4. Discussions regarding Society Buildings and our role as responsible stewards have been started.
  5. Financial projections and assessments are underway. 

The Plan has been developed over the last year with broad input and consultations from the entire Board, information and findings from the two year self-study Museum Assessment Program as well as guidance and assistance by consultants from the Executive Service Corps. We thank the Essex County Community Foundation for the grant that made this project possible.

Strategic Planning Committee

  • Diane Huster, Chair
  • Cathy Fowler
  • Kathy Stevens
  • Michael Lenihan
  • Carol Majahad, Executive Director
  • (Also former Committee members Ken Rea and Leslie Young-Lemire)

Executive Service Corps

  • Eli Lipcon
  • Louise Borke

Envisioning the Future

What we want the Society to be in the future 

  1. Have Human Resources (staff and volunteer) that are sufficient for programs and events which are compatible with the Strategic Plan and supported by an infrastructure that promotes efficient use of our resources.
  2. Have a long range master stewardship plan for all of the properties.
  3. Continue to develop a compelling research archive and collection that is relevant to our mission, available to researchers, part of an interpretative plan, properly taken care of, and accessible to the public
  4. Have a membership that is growing in numbers and participation.
  5. Become a well regarded provider of historical educational programs for area children which are fully funded through a combination of fees, grants, and special event fund raising
  6. Sponsor events and exhibits that attract high foot traffic and tell the story of North Andover's Past.
  7. North Andover Historical Society shall be financially self sustaining with a growing endowment.
  8. Become very (more) visible and highly regarded in North Andover and the Merrimack Valley as a History Museum and as an important repository of area history and cultural heritage.

Historical Society Core Competencies

What the Society does well now

  •  Education: Programs for both children and adults
  •  Research:  Archives and museum staff competencies
  •  Preserving Collections: Buildings, artifacts, and research materials


  1. Identify and adopt a new operating model for staffing that is project based, which may be funded by grants or sponsorships and which may include partnering with other organizations. 
  2. Build consensus around what to do with the five properties; Brick Store, Caroline Rogers Building (MOP), Johnson Cottage, Society Headquarters, and the Parson Barnard House NAHS directly owns by creating a task force comprised of board members and community representatives from diverse backgrounds with different kinds of expertise, including at least one member from the Center Realty Trust Board, which will analyze each property and recommend decisions for the future of each property.
  3. Determine needs and identify space for the expansion/enhancement of Historical Society programs and collections.
  4. Increase membership through an organized campaign to raise public awareness using the media and direct communications with targeted constituencies such as families of school children and owners of historic homes.
  5. Develop events and exhibits that are experiential and/or compelling for visitors who come to the Museum.
  6. Eliminate the operating deficit by increasing external financial sources of funds through public support and other revenue enhancing activities.

5 Year Measures of Progress


  1. Give the staff annual raises
  2. Increase the cadre of regular volunteers from 25 to 50 people
  3. Have at least two non board members on every committee where appropriate.


  1. Complete a long term documented plan for each property/building
  2. Obtain a clear, cordial, transparent, and synergistic relationship with Center Realty Trust
  3. Establish a multi year maintenance schedule with identified financial funding.
  4. Catalogue and review the entire collection to ensure that all objects in the collection are mission related.
  5. The visibility, access, and usability of our archival holdings have increased.


  1. Increase the number of members from 200 to 400
  2. Increase annual membership revenue to $25K
  3. Successfully re-brand the North Andover Historical Society


  1. Increase the number of adult participants in paid programs from 500 to 1,000 per year
  2. Increase the number of children participants in paid programs from 1,750 to 3,000 per year


  1. Eliminate the operating deficit
  2. Increase annual operating revenues from museum activities $20- $60K
  3. Double the endowment from $1MM to $2MM