Four years ago the Historical Society began implementing plans to reach out to the community in a variety of ways. It began with the local schools and a plan to bring all fourth grade classes to the museum for a living history tour. In Wisconsin fourth grade is year students study state history. Each year the program has grown and now all fourth grade classes in the district tour the museum and the program has extended to home school children. It has been made possible by funding from the Kohler Foundation over multiple grant cycles.
In addition to the school programs the Society has launched an oral history program, spearheaded an annual volunteer job fair and this year reached across northern counties to create a caucus of historical society to work together on common issues and opportunities. In 2017 the Society is leading a community group to create a historical preservation commission and to draft a proposed preservation ordinance for the city's consideration.
The Eagle River Historical Society believes that its mission needs to be fulfilled not only within the walls of its museums but in the life of the community.
The Eagle River Historical Society (ERHS) has made great strides in the past year in making the Society a fully professional organization. With a strategic planning process in place, the ERHS has set standards and goals for every aspect of operations: financial,administration,collections, physical management, growth and personnel.
This enthusiasm and hard work has attracted new supporters and made current ones even more dedicated. The most challenging work has been to choose among the many proposed ideas for growth and development. Such enthusiasm is the lifeblood of the organization.
It's public programs, from lavish benefits to fourth grade class tours of the museum, all attract large numbers and compliments. The Society has become an institution in the community.
The Eagle River Historical Society members and museums have been a valuable source of information and inspiration since my arrival in Eagle River. As a veteran teacher new to this school district, I felt like I hit the jackpot when I connected with this organization! I've been beyond impressed with their dedication and perseverance to their mission of broadening the scope of history education and appreciation in their facilities, through public education events and with increasing outreach to the schools. In the days of shrinking education budgets, it's a refreshing change to be approached with and included in the formation and implementation of educational outreach programs. I'm proud to have become a member of this results-driven, community-oriented organization.
Review from Guidestar
I took my class of 4th graders to the museum for a field trip. All of my students enjoyed this experience quite a bit and learned a lot about Vilas County history. We could have certainly stayed there longer, but the stations were a lot of fun for the students to rotate between. The students loved both the information and the hands on nature of the exhibits. The presenters were very informative, energetic, and worked very well with the fourth graders. As an adult, I was fascinated by all the displays and the organization of the museum. This museum is certainly a hidden gem in Eagle River!
The Eagle River Historical Society has added professional stature to its organizational structure this year and is prepared to provide exciting opportunities in the future to all visitors to our Museum and Depot. Leaders have written a new strategic plan that will streamline and define the roles of committee members and the work that will be accomplished in the next five years to keep the community and visitors excited about how the past has shaped the present and will inspire the future.
We had the opportunity to visit both museum sites, Railroad Depot and the Historical Museum, over the summer with visiting family. Our group had varied ages and interests. There was something for everyone to enjoy! It is great to see history being preserved. Definitely a "Jewel" in the Northwoods!
Eagle Lighting Inc in Eagle River, WI, was asked for advice in lighting the new historical museum. The museum needed general lighting and display lighting for their exhibits. We were able to donate some large fluorescent lights used for the general lighting area. We supplied the display lighting for the exhibits and installed all LED bulbs.
The museum is now energy efficient saving 2/3 the energy cost from last years expenditure! We are fortunate to have this museum in our small community to preserve history and educate our school children with tours.
I am relatively new to the Eagle River area and have enjoyed becoming involved as a volunteer for the Eagle River Historical Society. I have been impressed with how well-run the Society is and what they have accomplished in recent years. The purchase, renovation, and opening of their beautiful second location over a short period of time and the fact that they carry no debt on the extensive renovations shows how well-run the organization is and how important it is to the community. Volunteers, community members, and local businesses all demonstrated their belief in the importance of the Historical Society by pitching in with the renovation.
Eagle River Historical Society's mission of preserving the rich history of Eagle River is an important one. The volunteers are constantly striving to improve its internal methods of operation (such as cataloging historic items) and its external community relationships (such as its involvement with the local schools) so that residents and visitors to Eagle River can enjoy learning about Eagle River's history. Visitors to the museums are often adults who spent time in Eagle River as children and they are fascinated to learn more about the history of the area and where they stayed and the activities they enjoyed.
I am happy I chose to donate my time to the Eagle River Historical Society and enjoy working with its hard-working, competent, and fun volunteers.
These guys have definitely been an awesome part of the local community. Great people, helpful, always willing to give a hand. They're set up programs for the local schools, they're putting programs together to save people's items, they're looking to bring more and more tourism into Eagle River... Overall a great part of Eagle River. They're developing a great way to learn about the area and the heritage of Eagle River. Kudos.
The second museum of the Eagle River Historical Society has now been open for two full seasons. In that time several goals have been achieved: programs developed with the local school district, new, professional level, policies and procedures in place, a full collections management policy established and a plan for strategic planning and board restructuring created. In the same time frame a second successful benefit was held at a historic estate, combining the Society's mission with fund raising.
The Society has addressed a need for highly qualified volunteers through an annual volunteer job fair, organized by the Society and including 10 other area non profits. It's financial position is stable, allowing for a 60% reduction in the remaining debt on its new campus.
I am proud of colleagues who have raised the professional operating standards of the Society to match the impressive museum they created.
This review is based upon being involved with the Eagle River Historical Society for four years. During that time I have donated $500 plus to the organization and contributed about 200 hours of my time to working on the rehab of the new Historical Society building. Here's why I decided to focus my efforts on this organization:
* The mission of the Society is well thought out--tell the 150 year story of the Eagle River area to the tens of thousands of tourists and summer residents who visit the Northwoods each year and to the students attending Northland Pines schools.
* All of the Directors of the Society contribute their own money to the organization or are instrumental in raising funds. They have made a personal commitment to the success of the organization.
* The Society's funds are carefully managed. Budgets are used to monitor revenue and expenditures. Financial statements are prepared monthly and distributed to all Directors for their review. Expenditures over certain amounts require approval by the Board before a commitment to spend the money is made.
Over the last twenty years I have been involved with some twenty non profits in Houston as Chairperson, President, Treasurer, or volunteer. Non demonstrated a stronger commitment to their mission, had more grass roots support or tenacity than the Eagle Historical Society.
Our family has been fortunate to have lived here for over 35 years, and during that time frame we have observed this group constantly expand their horizons from a small exhibit in a local shopping mall, to where they are presently involved in renovating an historic early era young adult summer camp building to house many artifacts related to the development of this community. It is great that local residents, and visitors, will be able to visualize the growth from the early logging industry, through the farming period, and its present destination for the many visitors who now come here to enjoy our great natural beauty and the "Largest Number of Interconnected Fresh Water Lakes in the World". In addition to this new facility, the Historical Society will continue to maintain its present old Railroad Station location in downtown Eagle River that will concentrate on how the railroad helped in the development of this area. We owe a great of gratitude to this group for its dedication to this project.
I was born and raised in Eagle River and like many, have 'come back home'. My grandfather was a blacksmith in the late 1990's and my children & grandkids call ER their second home. Our family was recently able to be of some assistance to the Society in relocating to its current building. The building had originally been part of Camp Tecumseh on Catfish Lake and was bought and donated to the Knights of Columbus by my father, Harry Pride and Francis Sailer. The Historical Society appreciated its local historical connections and is now making it their permanent museum home. My husband and I are proud to support the Society's leadership and were very impressed with the recent fundraiser at a local historical home. We've joined the hardworking team of volunteers and welcome this opportunity to help inspire present generations and preserve the history of the area for generations to come.
My husband and I are recently retired and new to this community. We are so pleased to find several viable and exciting organizations with which we have become involved. We're impressed by the enthusiasm and knowledge that the folks of the Eagle River Historical Society display. The fun is that some of the group can claim generations of family members in Eagle River and surrounding areas. The sharing of photos, stories, and local lore is a joy to experience. We attended a dinner for the area library last night where the guest speakers, from the Historical Society, presented a slide show with narration of early settlers, buildings, facts, people, Native Americans, loggers, and legends. It was well received. It also generated more interest in the ERHS amongst those present. We are so happy to support this fine and dedicated group of local history buffs!
The Eagle River Historical Sociey is a valued group, whose primary purpose is preserving the rich
history of this area. The members are devoted, talented, and consistently involved in their mission.
As a native of this area, I appreciate their service and dedication to their mission.
I was able to help the ERHS by taking part in the bi-annual Cemetery Walk, and acting as one of the Eagle River professionals of an earlier era gave me touch of the Eagle River history I am coming to value. Seeing the ERHS continue its mission by expanding to two sites, after having moved from the Trees for Tomorrow site, demonstrates, for me, what a dynamic group of people can do to capture the imaginations of those who value history. I look forward to the opening of the new site on Highway 45S and the uncrating of all that must be stored presently. I look forward, also, to seeing students pour over the exhibits and the artifacts, searching for a context that includes either their families or people about whom they have heard while studying Wisconsin history or the history of Vilas County. ERHS is invigorating the history of the area (witness the Sunset Point summer evening event) and awakening many to the treasures around us.
As the Curriculum Director of the area school district, the ERHS has become a vital participant of our school. They have offered curriculum assistance, program offerings, partnerships with our students and teachers, in class instruction and field trips to their museum. Their dedication to teaching the youngsters from and visitors of the the area has been awesome to observe and become involved with. Our school district appreciates their efforts and contributions to our community.
My family includes early settlers of Eagle River, so I am well aware of the rich history of the area and the importance of keeping their hard work and vision of what it could be, along with what they accomplished alive and well for others to learn from. The present society group is a small, but determined group, who is doing an outstanding job of pressing forward to provide a venue to preserve, showcase, and teach coming generations how respect for the land and its resources brought us to where we are and can continue to do so for years to come. I am very proud to be a part of this project.
The Eagle River Historical Society has become a vibrant, exciting organization in the last few years. The Society is pulling together and is working hard to complete renovations to its new museum building. Through long hours of hard work by many volunteers and businesses, the building is shaping up nicely; hopefully to open Memorial Day weekend, 2014.
The Society has become pro-active within the community and is always seeking news ways to contribute to the community. From being a stopping place for history buffs in its beginning, the Society has grown into a community asset; saving Eagle River's past and preserving today for the future generations.
I was born and raised in Eagle River and, over the decades, have both observed and participated in various efforts to preserve and showcase our community's rich history. These efforts were mostly conducted informally by a small group of older community residents who (bless their hearts) worked very hard with limited resources to establish Eagle River's first historical museum and to sustain the Historical Society.
Fortunately, in recent years, growing interest in Eagle River's history by a group of younger retirees along with many Eagle River natives who have moved "back home" after professional careers around the country has resulted in a boost to the ranks of Historical Society membership and a new pool of energetic and focused volunteers who view a new museum as their next professional challenge.
Naturally, this dynamic has resulted in taking the Historical Society to the "next level", including regularly scheduled and disciplined Board meetings, fundraising by experienced volunteers, construction planning by those with a building background, and membership development by those who've spent careers in the field.
Everybody likes to be associated with, and contribute to, a winner. The Eagle River Historical Society has evolved into a big winner and I'm both proud of their accomplishments...and waiting for the next fundraising call with my checkbook handy.
It has been both a pleasure and a reward to have the opportunity to work with such a dedicated and knowledgeable board in the creation of their new museum space. Their diligence in organizing, promoting volunteers and setting goals is sure to lead to success. Continued assistance and fundraising is a must but I am confident that their new space will make everyone proud to be associated.