May 2015 President’s Report
The DRM celebrated its 20 years in 2014. Obviously that news is not new news. Back in 1994 however, our future was uncertain. Our membership was growing and our leadership was learning through trial, error, and experience. We think it worked.
In November 2014, the DRM applied to participate in the StEPs-CT program, a 26-month integrated program of professional development for smaller cultural organizations which is based on the national Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations (StEPs). Debuting in 2009, StEPs has helped 585 institutions nationwide, including 27 in Connecticut. On December 12, 2014, the Danbury Railway Museum received notification that it was one of the 23 organizations accepted into the 2015-2017 program after a competitive application process. Support and training comes via curriculum-based workshops, coaching with a dedicated mentor and initiatives related to achieving StEPs-CT program standards. The StEPs-CT is a program of the Connecticut Humanities (CTH) and the Connecticut League of History Organizations (CLHO), in partnership with the Connecticut Historical Society.
On January 20, 2015, after approval by our Board of Directors at the December 2014 meeting, Stan Madyda, our permanent representative, and myself attended the first meeting of the first module of the six-module program which was held at the Connecticut Historical Society in West Hartford. The first module is devoted towards Mission/Vision/Governance & the StEPs-CT Program. After numerous meetings, seminars, open hose programs and homework, fast-forward to April 2015 where we have almost completed our first module. With additional participation by Don Konen and Steve Gould, we are about to venture forward into module two which is “Audience”.
So…how are we doing? As an organization with not much formal training, we were in a relatively decent position. We learned we were doing some things very well, some O.K., and others needed more work. As we continue on our 26-month journey, we expect to enhance our education, formalize our business plan and successfully illustrate the professional abilities of our talented membership. Please stay tuned to our progress.
On behalf of the Danbury Railway Museum, Wade W. Roese