Dorchester County Historical Society, Inc.




NOVEMBER 17, 2014




(Final Draft, 11/17/14)



2015 THROUGH 2019

Prepared by the DCHS Long Range Planning Committee, with direction of DCHS officers.

The Board of Directors adopted the first Long Range Plan in April of 1997 

1st Revision         Approved by the Board of Trustees       November 1998 

2nd Revision        Approved by the Board of Trustees       September 2001 

3rd Revision        Approved by the Board of Trustees       January 2003 

4th Revision         Approved by the Board of Trustees       March 2005 

5th Revision         Approved by the Board of Trustees       October 2008 

6th Revision         Approved by the Board of Trustees       November 2014   

Dorchester County Historical Society, Inc.

Long Range Plan



The first Long Range Plan was completed and adopted by DCHS in 1997.  The first revision was approved in November 1998, the second in 2001, the third in 2003, the fourth in 2005 and the last in 2008.

 These plans were formulated at different stages of DCHS’ and the site’s development, after the Neild Museum (completed in 1980) had reached its capacity.  Striving for the most effective use of space, while telling a very broad story, the organization has engaged various professionals to aid in this task.  Exhibit designers, interpretive planners, historians, architects and others have weighed in through the years, helping to guide the organization.

The first Long Range Planning Committee began its work, under the leadership of John S. “Pat” Neild, Jr. in the fall of 1996.  Their goal was to delineate all of the known or anticipated needs of the organization, prioritize them and schedule them.  The original timeframe was a 10 year span.



The Plan is a document, available to the DCHS officers, board, membership, local and state government officials, grant foundations and the public, to provide a vision of the future for the organization and facilities. A number of very direct benefits will accrue from both the existence of the plan and from the process of its development and maintenance. As a matter of practice, an organization’s Long Range Plan should be reviewed at least yearly, with revisions and updates made as required. This plan, for the first time, has been offered as “Goals, Objectives and Action Plan,” to attempt to also show timelines and expected and desired results from the scheduled projects and initiatives.

The DCHS Long-Range Plan is designed to:

  • Provide Continuity for DCHS Leadership.   As new board members, officers, curators and committee chairmen take office, a common understanding of the direction of the organization will be readily at hand.  The plan can serve as a basis for discussion and possible revision of the organization’s path in keeping with the organization’s vision and mission.
  • Promote orderly progress, and evaluation of accomplishments.  With clearly stated Goals and Objectives, based on DCHS’ mission statement, wasted or counter-productive efforts will be avoided.  As this plan is updated from time to time, progress can be measured and necessary revisions made.


• Anticipate human and financial needs.  Utilizing this plan as a tool when tackling the Operating Budget for DCHS, we should be better equipped to anticipate costs associated with accomplishing our goals.  Close monitoring of the plan will allow sufficient lead-time to secure additional funding when necessary. Volunteer needs for given projects, programming, events and initiatives will be easier to estimate.  Clear descriptions of Action Items should allow for better volunteer recruitment.

• Maintain flexibility of programs and project efforts.  Future conditions and events cannot always be anticipated.  As times change, so will the future plans of DCHS.  The long-range plan will offer a realistic framework against which these changes can be assessed and better-informed decisions can be made in revising goals.  Projects and planned efforts can be re-prioritized and advanced, delayed or discarded as appropriate to meet changing needs.

• Assure achievability of our annual programs.  It quickly becomes evident, in listing all the things that DCHS might like to accomplish, that all can not be done this year, or next, or even within the next five years.  DCHS has limited resources, both financial and human, and they must be used wisely.  Identifying and scheduling the needed projects over five or ten years allows us to ensure that all the needs are recognized and that each annual program is within our means.

• Achieve the mission of DCHS.  DCHS’ programs, publications, facilities, collections and activities are directed toward preserving and making available to the public, in various ways, the heritage of Dorchester County.  DCHS must work efficiently and effectively to continue to bring this about.  The DCHS Long-Range Plan is a tool which will help the organization’s leadership, both present and future, do this while demonstrating to the public our thoughtful, strategic and carefully articulated approach to planning and evaluation.


The Long Range Planning Committee meets whenever revisions of the Plan are needed, but not less often than every 5 years.

A comprehensive “wish list” is developed without regard for restrictions of time, budget or other constraints.  This list includes a wide variety of items – a number of organizational and operational projects as well as additions, preservation alternatives, repairs, acquisitions, and restorations covering DCHS’ structures, grounds, and collections.  Ideas are gathered from previous assessments and planning efforts of DCHS, Curators and Committee Chairpersons, and the personal knowledge of the Planning Committee members. We encourage and invite any member to join in the long-range planning process.

The items are roughly categorized into three groups:

Goal #1:  Preservation.  (Collections and Properties)

Goal #2:  Interpretation and Appreciation. (Exhibits, Events, Outreach)

Goal #3:  Operational Efforts. (Funding, Staffing, Equipment, Identity)

After reviewing all suggestions, the lists are refined and consolidated into separate projects with a brief description and cost estimate for each.

Projects are then prioritized and placed in a 5 year schedule so that each year contains a manageable workload for the Officers and Board, and the funding needed in each year appears to be achievable.

The completed draft plan is presented to the Executive Committee, then to the Board of Trustees for final approval.  Once adopted, the plan is available to everyone, on the DCHS website,


This plan is considered to be a living document.  It will be referred to annually or more often and will be reflected in the annual DCHS budget.   Projects in the plan will be added, revised, delayed or advanced in DCHS’ schedule as conditions dictate.

A cautionary note should be added here.  Inclusion of a project in this document does not necessarily mean that it has been fully approved in concept and/or scope for final implementation.  Its presence here, however, is the first step toward such approval.  Some projects may be delayed, modified, or dropped altogether as the planning process continues.

DCHS Officers and Board of Trustees will use the Long-Range Plan to:

–       Anticipate future funding requirements and act to meet those requirements in a timely manner.

–       Provide input to the annual operating budget.

–       Direct the work of standing and special committees.

–       Brief newly elected/chosen board members, officers, curators and committee members on DCHS plans, goals and current programs.

–       Show DCHS members and County residents what the future holds for DCHS.  This can be especially helpful during membership and annual funding drives.

–       Indicate to grant agencies and foundations the DCHS commitment to our goals and assure them that we have an orderly and logical program for reaching our goals.

–       Provide a visible and easily understood document, which potential donors, grantors, and legislators, may use to select a specific project they may wish to fund for DCHS.

–       Measure progress of DCHS toward fulfilling our mission over the ensuing years.

The process of preparing and updating the Plan, the meetings, discussions, analysis, the airing of ideas, the debates, the agreements and the disagreements involving the committee members and others are all invaluable to the health of DCHS.  The enthusiasm and awareness engendered by this process will continue to impact DCHS through the involvement of the members who prepared this Plan.  This benefit is continued and expanded through the periodic review of the Plan, and by bringing new members with new ideas and concepts into the process.


The plan itself is a chart titled “Goals, Objectives and Action Plan FY 2015 – 2019” and is categorized by 1) Preservation, 2) Interpretation and Celebration and 3) Operational Efforts.

For reference purposes, each project is given a reference number in its category.

Each Objective has multiple Action Items that need to occur, within the plan.

The Purpose defines what the broad end result is anticipated to be.

The Lead/Partners column identifies individuals/groups that may head the project.

When available, amounts are listed for Costs/Funding, showing estimated expenses and possible funding sources.

Desired Outcome/Measurable Results provides expected results in SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and relevant terms) terms by which success  can be evaluated.

Timeline and Status speak to what steps have been taken toward realizing the Action Item.

Goals, Objectives and Action Plan Chart

Objective Action Items Purpose Lead/Partners Cost/  Funding Desired Outcome/Measurable Results Timeline/Status
Preservation 1ATo realize the preservation of the entire DCHS collection 1)Revise Acceptance & Collection policies .1a)Draft simplified procedures for Past

Perfect software utilization in working with DCHS’ collection.

1b) Deaccession items not relevant to our policies.  Gift to other organizations or sell as appropriate.

1)To defineaccession criteria, allowing for better management.

1a)To allow ease of use for volunteers working with PP.

1b)DCHS only to preserve relevant artifacts

Terry NeildAnn Phillips

Terry Neild

Ann Phillips


$0 cost, min. income

1)Current Acceptance & Collection Policy.1a) New Procedure for accessioning/deaccessioning and record management.

1b) Reduction of stored artifacts by 25 or more items, which allows for incoming, relevant artifact inclusion.


2014 begun-20 books, 6 items removed

2) Produce a Rotation Schedule for artifacts -to move them from display to storage and back.2a)Utilize Rotation Schedule. 2)To prolong the life of fragile materials.2a) Reduce human error. Ann PhillipsTerry Neild


Faye Nave

2)$02a)$500 Arch.Supp 2)Rotation Schedule created.2a)Preserve artifacts indefinitely, with proper storage techniques. 2)20162a)2016-17
3) Improve climate control in Meredith House, namely humidity. 3)To reduce the damaging effects of moisture on the structure and to artifacts. Charlie Pax $750-3units w/

$250 don.

Measurable humidity at no more than 50% in MH. Completed10/2014
4) Photocopy documents, store originals and use copies. To safeguard against damage/theft of original documents. Mitch AndersonLynne Mills $500/yr.Xerox & suppl. All documents in collection have a duplicate for use.  Documents new to collection will be copied within 2 weeks of acceptance. Began 2011
5) Digitize documents and photos. Protects images indefinitely and allowsonline accessibility. Terry NeildAnn Phillips

To be named

Cost Images and documents in collection will have a digital duplicate. Rate of 10,000/year. 10/14 Fam.Search  +300 photos
Objective Action Items Lead/Partners Cost/  Funding Timeline Desired Outcome/Measurable Results Status
Action Items Purpose Lead/Partners Cost/Funding Desired Outcome/Measurable Results Timeline/Status
6)  Relocate research library, currently housed on 2nd floor of Meredith House to a ground floor, larger space.6a)  Remove Native American exhibit,

rework and reinstall on walls and space in Robbins,  inside entry from Neild Museum.  New, descriptive signage will be created.

6)To allow for growth of collection, handicap accessibility and better management.6a) Native American artifacts to be displayed at eye level, in an organized, categorized way . 6)Ann PhillipsTerry Neild

Charlie Pax

Moving co.


6a)Terry Crannell

Pam Ronsaville- exhibit designer

Ann Phillips

6)NotDeterm. shelving, construct

6a) Not Determ. MHAA


Exh. Grant

6) 30% increase in volunteer activity due to accessibility = 6 hrs/wk.  Library hours will be extended from 12 hrs/wk (Mon, Wed, Fri) to 40 hrs/wk.6a)  A cohesive Native American display w/ timeline and text to describe and explain the culture will prominently displayed. 6)Begin Feb. 20156a) 2015-16
7)  Recruit and train volunteer staff to monitor collection and assist with preservation. To allow for better management and preservation. Ann PhillipsCurators $0 2 volunteers will be recruited and trained to manage the preservation of artifacts. 2015
8)Collect oral histories and historic photographs. To ensure the preservation of stories and images Ann PhillipsNancy Malwitz

Lynne Mills

$100/Yr Increase collection by 25 audio taped oral histories and 50 historic images per year Begun 2013 w/18 interviews
9)Create audio visual lab where vintage recordings and film can be digitized using modern technology. To preserve audio and video pieces in a modern format. FrankContractor $2500 est. Audio visual lab will be available for transfer of fugitive audio visual materials into modern usage and format. Services will be offered to the public for fee. 2017
Preservation 1BManage the preservation of the site/buildings P1B-1)Replace rotten wood on MH windowsills, eaves and trim and paint. To ensure the preservation of the Meredith House. Pat NeildCharlie Pax



$10-15K Meredith House will have new painted woodwork-windowsills, eaves and trim. 9-10/14 Rec’d bids, &easement9/14 Grant appl.Todd
2)Create storage to protect movable event signage, supplies, Recycle Dorchester inventory, etc. To protect materials from the weather. Building Committee Est. $5K Campus will have ample storage building/structure for large, seldom used items. 2015-2016
3)Stabilize the shoreline to prevent further erosion. Protection of the water side of property. Pat NeildDavid Wilson-Delmarva RC &D Not determ. Installed fiber logs will protect against shoreline erosion. D.Wilson to seek grant funding
4)Dredge Shoal Creek to allow access from the waterside. To allow access to site from waterside. Pat NeildCambridge/Other. Not determ. Water depth at low tide of 2.5 feet will allow small boat access. Effort begun 2012
Objective Action Item Purpose Lead/Partners Cost/Funding Desired Outcome/Measurable Results Timeline/Status
5)Have yearly pest control treatments. To allow for protection of structures and artifacts. Building Committee $500/yr Buildings will remain bug free.  Artifacts will be undamaged. Ongoing
6)Assess tree and shrubbery maintenance needs and schedule for services. To maintain the health & appearance of plantings. Building Comm.Ann Phillips Not determ. The campus trees and shrubs will be healthy and not overgrown. Ongoing
7)Find additional parking solutions, on and off campus. To ease congestion of traffic on streets and allow for more parking. Charlie PaxBuilding Comm.


Not The addition of 10 new designated parking spaces in 2015 with 20 more by 2019. Oct.2014 10  added with  w/temp.mks
8)Determine cost of ADA walkway to dock.8a)Construct ADA walkway to dock, if affordable/fundable. To connect current paths on campus for accessibility. 8)Building Comm.8a)Contractor $08a)Not determ. 8)Cost for waterfront walkway project will be known.8a)ADA compliant paths will connect the entire campus. 20152016-17
9)Reevaluate Smith rental property usage,owned by DCHS,  in accordance with DCHS planning and create report. To ensure best use of DCHS assets in matching needs with solutions. Board $0 Possible Use report, including pros, cons, opportunities, for Smith property to help guide usage plan for the next 5 years. Report toNovember 2014 Board
10)Explore expansion opportunities on campus and have sketches drawn. To effectively plan for growth and needs. BoardArchitect

Plan. & Zoning

$0 Drawn plans, that would be allowed by City/County, will provide options for growth. 2015
11)Pursue first refusal on purchase of neighboring properties to allow for growth of campus. To proactively plan for expansion needs. Board $0 First refusal agreements with six neighboring properties will open communication with owners. 2015 and on

Goal #2:  Interpretation and Appreciation

Interpretation 2ADisplay local heritage on site 1)Create exhibits with coordinated signs and hands-on opportunities throughout, allowing for rotating  exhibits.  Include Dorchester personalities using photos and audio boxes. Update docent handbooks accordingly.1a)Develop storyline for waterfront area including stewardship (ecology) and historic uses of marshes and install signage that educates visitors.

1b)Install eagles nest sculpture on the waterside of campus.

1)To present a cohesive history product and storyline that is engaging and renewable.1a)To add to current site offerings.

1b)To add visual interest.

1)Ann PhillipsCurators

Charlie Pax

WRH-design firm

Bill Jarmon

Frank Bittner

1a)Pat Neild

Environmental Concern, Melvin


1b)Pat Neild

Charlie Pax

$40,000 signs,exh. Construct,interact.$4K-audio

Not determ.


1)15 exhibits will have compatible text, hands on elements and include personal stories. 2 temporary exhibits mounted per year.1a)Signage on the waterfront will describe efforts taken to preserve the shoreline as well as historic uses of property.

1b)Sculpture introduced into the area by the waterfront will enhance the vista.

2014-16 $22K grant awarded from MHAA 10/14.Audio-MSAC funded $2054.



Objective Action Item Purpose Lead/Partners Cost/Funding Desired Outcome/Measurable Results Timeline/ Status
2)Develop scripts for historic figures and  engage volunteers to portray these characters.  Train as needed. To bring history to life. Ann PhillipsOthers Est. $500 costumes Three scripts/year  will be written and volunteers trained for in house tours and programming. 2014 begun with 1 vol. engaged.
3)Develop self tour booklets, including each area of the site.3a) Produce recorded device (MP3 player) for visitor use, throughout the campus.

3b)Develop QR codes for the entire campus.

3)To allow ease of use for entire campus.3a)As above

3b)Visitors can enjoy campus even when site is closed.

3)Ann PhillipsPam Ronsaville-exhibit designer

3a)Not identified

3b)Terry Neild

3)in #1 above.3a)Not determ.

3b)Not determ.

3)A professionally produced tour booklet will guide and enhance visitors’ tours.3a) Six MP3 devices w/headphones will be recorded and available for visitor use.

3b) Six QR codes will be produced and displayed throughout campus, so that smartphone users will get more information about the site and exhibits.  One will be displayed outside so that visitors can enjoy the campus after hours.



4) Write newspaper and magazine articles to engage locals in DCHS activities, utilizing historic images and documents. To grow participation, support and membership of local community. Ann PhillipsStar Democrat


Other publications

$0 Twelve heritage related articles per year will be submitted to local publications with photos when available.  Four new memberships will be realized due to these efforts. Begun 2014Cambridge Crackers, Sarah Young
5) Develop an education program for young people with a focus on 4th and 8th grades. To formalize our educational offerings. Bill JarmonOthers as needed Not determ. Dorchester Heritage Curriculum will feature important area figures as well as events.  Invitations and materials will be given to all public elementary/ middle and three private schools in county.ns. 2015-16
6)Develop programming to engage visitors-workshops, talks, how-tos, demos, using one theme and several different types of offerings. To promote mission and engage younger members and partners. Judi LeamingAnn Phillips $3000 Three, three part programs will serve to engage a broad audience.  With each topic, three pieces will draw different audiences of all ages. 2014 funded by

  1. 3 programs planned for 2015.
7)Inventory offered for sale in the Heritage Shop is related to our mission. To promote mission and earn income. Mitch AndersonOthers $1000 Heritage related inventory supports operating income. Ongoing
Objective Action Item Purpose Lead/Partners Cost/            Funding Desired Outcome/Measurable Results Timeline/Status
8)Develop a research journal for “added benefit” membership and publish. To support mission and print historical findings. Jeanne BernardResearchers Not determ. One research journal will be offered in year 1, two in year 2 and forward. 2015 planning for 2016 pub.
9)Establish Technology Committee to explore ways to engage younger visitors and members, under age 30. To stay abreast of technological advances. To Be Decided $0 Technology Committee will make recommendations about advances and tools that may be utilized to appeal to a younger market. 2016-17
Interpretation 2BShare local heritage off site 1)Events will continue to be held offsite to broaden reach, promote history, build partnerships and raise operating funds. To take history to the public, make it enjoyable and raise money. Event Committees Not determ. Two events will be held off site annually- Tomato Festival and Native American Artifact Exhibit.  Goal attendance in 2015 for Tomato Festival is 2000 and for NAAE is 750 attendees.
2)Partner/coordinate with other heritage organizations, businesses, etc. offering assistance in efforts. To promote our site, DCHS and mission. Ann PhillipsVolunteers $0 4 organizations, businesses or efforts will benefit from assistance from DCHS. 2014 begun. ENM Heritage, Federalsburg HS, Richardson, NHPA,+
3)Take programs to schools, clubs, etc.,including genealogy. To broaden reach, strengthen partnerships and gain members. Ann PhillipsTerry Crannell

Terry Neild

Ongoing Six offsite programs will be realized in the first year taking DCHS to the needs. Begun 10/14-Genealogy on the Road
4)Utilize the website and facebook to offer opportunities to promote and showcase local heritage. To broaden reach, engage and grow. Ann PhillipsKim Newcomb

Terry Neild

Frank Bittner

$100 web cost Effective use of social media will reach a wider audience, bringing fifty new virtual members per year. Ongoing
Goal #3:   Operational Efforts
Operational 3AStabilize funding 1)Continue Heritage Gold Plan with expanded member benefits. To grow membership. Ann Phillips $500/yrprinting Membership will grow by 10%. Ongoing
2)Utilize targeted methods for Annual Giving campaign-personal appeal and individual events/receptions. To fund operations. Ann PhillipsBoard $250/yr.Print/


Annual Giving will grow by 10%. Begun 10/14
3)Mount Endowment/Planned Giving Campaign-printed materials, reception, etc. To provide for long term operational funding. Ann PhillipsJeanne Bernard

Need Committee

$500/yr for reception DCHS will inform six financial planning consultants about the donor opportunities. 2015-
Objective Action Item Purpose Lead/Partners Cost/Funding Desired Outcome/Measurable Results Timeline/Status
4)Promote teas and tours to a wider market. To fund operations and engage. Ann PhillipsHyatt

Bill Jarmon

Not determ. Tea and tour income will grow by 10% in 2015. 2015
5) Reduce heating and cooling costs for the Robbins and Neild buildings by reducing usage and making other changes as recommended by energy auditor. To cut costs. Ann PhillipsCharlie Pax

Delmarva Power


$0 By adjusting thermostats, we will realize a savings of 10% in utility bills. 2015
6)Investigate possible retrofits for heatpumps in Robbins and Neild buildings, as well as solar panel installation. To cut costs. Charlie PaxPat Neild

Bill Wise

Not determ. A recommendation will be put forth as to options available to cut utility costs for the long term. 2014 begun
Operational 3BRealize adequate staffing 1)Grow volunteer staff by utilizing creative recruitment tactics, training and recognition. To provide adequate staffing. Ann Phillips $500/yr.Advert./


Volunteer staff will grow by three weekly positions.  In addition, volunteers for events will grow by 1/3 over previous years. 2015
2)Add part-time staff people, paid for by DCHS. To support operations and provide adequate staffing. Board $9300-20hr/wk A part-time staff person, 20 hrs. per week will handle general office duties and visitors. 2015-16
3)Outline intern programs to handle projects and promote to area colleges and high schools. To provide staffing assistance. Ann Phillips Not determ. One intern will be engaged for a project or research. 2015-16
Operational 3CInstall/maintain modern equip. 1)Update and purchase software to enable best use of time for staff. To enable efficient operations. Ann PhillipsHubert Wright

Andrew Todd

$200 Software updates for graphics, genealogy and collection management will be purchased and installed. 2015 and ongoing.
2)Update equipment-computers, projectors, etc. as needed. To enable efficient operations. Andrew ToddAnn Phillips Not determ. Less down time will be experienced if equipment is replaced as necessary.  One computer will be purchased for front office. 2015
3)Get additional professional training when needed. For better performance. Ann PhillipsVolunteer staff Not determ. Better skills will allow for better job performance. Ongoing




Objective Action Item Purpose Lead/Partners Cost/Funding Desired Outcome/Measurable Results Timeline/Status
Operational 3DWork to continue


1)Consistently promote offerings, events, etc. with the same “branding” through multiple outlets. For broad recognition in region. Ann PhillipsTourism $0 Use of “Heritage Museums & Gardens of Dorchester” as the site name will allow locals and tourists to discern what we offer.  That image will be used for event, tours, teas, programming, etc.  Membership will continue to be offered to DCHS to keep the organization that maintains the site visible. 2015
2)Share  vision to “be the premier organization for preservation, research, education, and celebration of the history and traditions of Dorchester” to the wider public and other organizations. For broad recognition and understanding of goals. Ann PhillipsBoard $0 DCHS will assist other heritage organizations that are in need or struggling. Ongoing