Fairfield Historical Society

Explore the Past, Imagine the Future

aka Fairfield Museum and History Center   |   Fairfield, CT   |  www.fairfieldhistory.org

Mission

The Fairfield Museum and History Center inspires civic engagement by celebrating the diverse history of our region and its people. As a dynamic public forum, we believe in the power of art and humanities to inspire the imagination, stimulate ideas, and build a better society.

Ruling year info

1950

Executive Director

Mr. Michael A. Jehle

Main address

Fairfield Museum and History Center 370 Beach Road

Fairfield, CT 06824 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

06-0646622

NTEE code info

Museum & Museum Activities (A50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Fairfield Museum preserves and celebrates more than 400 years of diverse stories from our community. The Museum’s exhibitions, programs and educational content are created in partnership with engaged citizens, regional cultural organizations and social service agencies, as well as affinity groups representing the region’s ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. Museum programs help build valuable community cohesion and consensus in times of social and political divisiveness, and the Museum strives to create a safe, welcoming space where various points of view can be heard and collective solutions explored to create a more just and inclusive community. Fairfield Museum works hard to have an expansive reach to all residents and stakeholders in our region and to tell comprehensively-researched and representative stories about our shared past.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Changing Exhibitions and Educational Programming

With Town and private support, the Fairfield Museum sponsors a wide array of programs for children, families, and adults. In this past year, the Museum has worked hard to offer even more of those services to the community:

• Adult and senior programs were enjoyed by more than 3,550 adults.

• Nearly 17,000 people visited the museum’s exhibits or participated in family programs, and an additional 900 national and international researchers used Fairfield’s irreplaceable archives that are preserved in our library.

• The Fairfield Museum provides programs that directly support school curricula in all of Fairfield’s elementary and middle schools. The Museum served more than 5,200 students over the past year, supplementing classroom learning in social studies, arts, and literature.

• With the opening of our new long-term exhibit, Creating Community: Exploring 375 Years of Our Past, and related programming, the Museum will continue to increase visitor numbers to the Museum and to Fairfield. The exhibit has been immensely popular with seniors and school groups, alike.

• We continue to serve the need for a cultural summer camp experience for the Town’s children. This year our camps were over-subscribed, necessitating the addition of extra programming.

• The Fairfield Museum manages the Town’s five historic properties, including Burr Mansion, Sun Tavern, Bronson Windmill, Victorian Cottage and Barn, and the 1812 Powder House. Museum management of the Town’s historic properties

The Fairfield Museum is the sole repository for Fairfield’s irreplaceable archives:

• We preserve at considerable expense the manuscripts, genealogies, artifacts, maps and rare books, as well at 20,000 books, that chronicle nearly 375 years of Fairfield’s history and make them widely available to students and researchers.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of paid admissions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Changing Exhibitions and Educational Programming

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of unique website visitors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of adult learners enrolled

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Adult and families enrolled in Fairfield Museum programs

Number of people on the organization's email list

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Fairfield Museum believes in the power of the arts and the humanities to inspire imagination, stimulate thought, and transform society. Through a varied offering of programs and exhibitions, the Museum successfully sparks dialogue, inspires meaningful collaborations, and deliberates the challenges of the future. Central to our community-focused mission is a desire to present important historical context to pressing issues of our time, and provide a safe, trustworthy environment where multiple perspectives can be heard and collective solutions explored.

Achieving Excellence: The Fairfield Museum is a vibrant nexus of community life that welcomes more than 35,000 visitors annually. Our community-focused mission has guided our success in becoming a focal point of civic pride, a prominent center for the study of arts and humanities, and an award-winning institution of statewide renown. Founded as a local historical society in 1903, we are an independent, donor-supported, non-profit museum, library, and educational center that presents a wide array of dynamic programs, exhibitions and events that explore our shared heritage and prepare children and adults to be more active and informed participants in the future of their community.

Promoting Lifelong Learning: The Fairfield Museum welcomes more than 3,500 students and teachers each year from 65 schools for high-quality educational programs, and we raise significant private funding to support underserved students from Bridgeport and Norwalk schools who visit free of charge. The Museum believes that sharing diverse stories about our past, celebrating the individual’s role in catalyzing social change and promoting the value of an informed and active citizenry helps empower students and their families to become active lifelong learners and value local museums and libraries in their community. The Museum’s thoughtfully curated exhibitions and programming are created through close collaboration with community organizations and affinity groups, and use the arts and humanities to foster discussion about critical issues such as racial justice, climate change, education, immigration and more

Building Capacity and Increasing Public Access: In 2006, Fairfield Museum opened a new state-of-the art museum, library and education center located in the heart of Fairfield’s historic downtown that has since become a vibrant center for community. More recently in 2017, the Museum led the revitalization of Fairfield’s adjoining Town Green, expanding its learning campus to include three recently-restored historic properties and landscapes dating back to the early 17th century. That ambitious creative place-making initiative expanded the Museum’s program and education capacity, and catalyzed greater collaboration with regional cultural organizations.

The Fairfield Museum has become a statewide leader in providing public access to our historic and cultural resources for the general public. Our collection is freely

The Fairfield Museum’s strategies for achieving its community impact goals include:

Goal 1: Promote Lifelong Learning

Objectives

1. Enhance library and museum resources that foster early, digital, information, health, financial, media, civic, and other types of literacies.
2. Support cross-disciplinary and inquiry-based methods of learning within museums and libraries.
3. Invest in library and museum programs that focus on continuous learning for families and individuals of diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds and needs.
4. Leverage the distinct role of museums and libraries as trusted sources of information.

Goal 2: Build Capacity

Objectives
1. Support the recruitment, training, and development of library and museum staff, boards, and volunteers, helping to grow a skilled, diverse and professional workforce.
2. Encourage library and museum professionals and institutions to share and adopt best practices and innovations.
3. Identify trends in the museum and library fields to help organizations make informed decisions.
4. Promote the ability of museums and libraries to serve as trusted spaces for community engagement and dialogue.

Goal 3: Increase Public Access

Objectives
1. Support the stewardship of museum and library collections at institutions of all types and sizes.
2. Invest in tools, technology, and training that enable people of all backgrounds and abilities to discover and use museum and library collections and resources.
3. Invest in policies and partnerships that address barriers to accessing museum and library collections, programs, and information.
4. Increase access to museum, library, and community knowledge through effective communications.

Goal 4: Achieve Excellence

Objectives
1. Attract, develop, and engage an effective, diverse and dedicated workforce, fostering innovation, collaboration, and learning.
2. Adapt to the changing needs of the museum and library fields by incorporating proven approaches as well as new ideas into programs and services.

The Fairfield Museum is an efficiently-run and financially stable organization with a 4-star Charity Navigator rating for financial accountability and transparency. Our $1.2M operating budget is consistently balanced, and our income is derived from diverse and balanced sources that include: 24% from earned income, 25% from foundation and government grants, 28% from contributed income, 19% income from our endowment, with the final 4% from municipal support. The Museum’s $8.5M endowment provides financial stability and allows us to offer free community programming as well as free school trips and transportation for underserved schools. The Fairfield Museum is guided by an active and diverse (40% male, 60% female) Board of Directors that supports the Museum’s 10-person staff with strategic planning, fundraising and community outreach.

In 2018, the Fairfield Museum completed a multi-year revitalization of the adjoining Town Green, creating a dynamic new campus for education, art and performance. New exhibitions in three recently-restored historic properties feature hands-on experiences that address agricultural sustainability, civics, justice, history and more. One property—a restored Victorian Cottage—was designed as an early education center where children under 10 explore their role as a citizen in their community. This revitalization project earned the highest score from the State of CT’s Department of Economic Development “Good to Great” granting program, and has received a Preservation Award from the CT Trust for Historic Preservation and a Leadership in History award from the American Association for State and Local History.

In its ongoing effort to use arts and humanities to celebrate and strengthen community, Fairfield Museum launched a series of free outdoor theatrical and music performances, tours and events on the Green in 2018 that were the culmination of several years of community planning and collaboration. The events were enjoyed by more than 4,000 intergenerational participants from across southwestern CT.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person),

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Fairfield Historical Society
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Fairfield Historical Society

Board of directors
as of 1/19/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Thomas Kreitler

Sharon Lauer

Sally Cummings

Joyce Hergenhan

John Herzog

Thomas Kreitler

Peter Penczer

Patricia Spaght

Gay Tice

William Mallin

Jill Littig

Chris Daley

Thomas Walsh

Susan Bonner

John Donovan

Elizabeth Fath

Tom Mindrum

Alan Neigher

Missy Palmisano

Rose Thomas

Bill Winget

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/19/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

No data

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/19/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.