PLATINUM2023

Kern River Valley Historical Society

Preserving the History of the Southern Sierra

aka Kern Valley Museum   |   Kernville, CA   |  kernvalleymuseum.org
GuideStar Charity Check

Kern River Valley Historical Society

EIN: 95-3702689


Mission

To preserve and communicate the history of the Kern River Valley and the surrounding Southern Sierra communities. To acquire and display artifacts of significance to the area, to encourage and support students who seek to learn about Kern Valley History, and to encourage and support celebrations related to the history of the area. We also maintain the Research Annex which houses a library of over 5,000 books related to Southern Sierra History as well as documents, photographs and maps of the area. It serves as a research facility for researchers as well as genealogists and hobbyists.

Ruling year info

1982

President

John Newman

Vice President, Museum

Erie Johnnson

Main address

PO Box 651

Kernville, CA 93238 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

95-3702689

Subject area info

Arts and culture

Education

Historical activities

Population served info

Adolescents

Adults

At-risk youth

NTEE code info

Historical Societies and Related Activities (A80)

Natural History, Natural Science Museums (A56)

Scholarships, Student Financial Aid, Awards (B82)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We are continually striving to preserve and disseminate the history of the Kern River Valley. At our Museum, we construct displays that depict the various aspects of our history including pre-history, the Gold Rush, our Native Americans, movies made in the valley, the Forest Service, Hydroelectric power and many more topics. We have recently added a display on the history of recreation in the valley, and a display on local cowboys and ranchers. During COVID, we did a total revamp of 5 displays within the museum. We are currently working on a Natural History display.

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?

Docent Training Program

We maintain a roster of about 50 qualified docents and we continue to solicit and train substitutes and replacements. We are reviving our Junior Docent program under the leadership of Marji Bothwell. She is a retired teacher.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

The Historical Society supports the One Spade Youth Packers. These young people learn skills related to mule packing and early farming. The learn to harness the mules and use various early farming equipment. We give them money each year to enter the competition at Mule Days. We give them a minimum of $1,000.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
At-risk youth

Each year, the museum thanks our community for it's continued support. We provide food, entertainment, and historical demonstrations that are free to the public. Demonstrations include Dutch oven cooking, butter churning, blacksmithing, hit and miss engines, woodworking, crafts, gold panning and assaying, vintage guns, and vintage tractors. Entertainment includes local bands and a local ventriloquist.

Population(s) Served

We host local artists who belong to the local art association. Each month a new artist is on display. Occasionally, featured artists paint paintings on our front porch. All proceeds from art that is sold in our gallery go to the artist. Frequently, the artist donates 10% of the proceeds back to the museum.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Older adults
Seniors
Adolescents

Our museum has grown steadily since its inception in 1967. It began in a small room in the Chamber of Commerce building. It is now a 3,100 square foot facility. The museum depicts the history of the Kern River Valley. Displays include our pre-history, our gold mining history, the transition to farming and ranching, our local Native Americians, our movie making past, the Edison Company's three power plants, the Chinese presence, local businesses in the early 1900's, and our map room that shows the geologic history, recreational opportunities, and old historical maps of the area.

In our back yard, we have many displays including an old miner's cabin, a stamp mill, an blacksmith's barn, early wagons, a 1925 Graham truck that brought supplies into the Valley, all of the brands registered in the valley. We also have an outdoor theater/meeting room where we show some of the old movies that were filmed here, host concerts, receptions and meetings.

Admission to our museum is free.

Population(s) Served

Our Research Annex houses over 5,000 books, 15,000 photographs, countless documents, 400 maps, and over 400 pieces of art. Its emphasis is on local history, but there are many items about Western history. It is open to researchers and the public.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups
Adults
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

Where we work

Awards

Organization of the Year 2023

Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Number of free participants on field trips

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We offer field trips 5-8 times a year. We generally have about 30-40 participants. We had two field trips that far outpaced our usual field trips at 60 and 75 participants.

Total number of fields trips

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of free participants in conferences

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

We offer History Talks 6-8 times a year.

Total number of conferences held

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

We host History Talks 6-8 times per year. Guest speakers from all over the county give presentations to our members and the community.

Total number of free admissions

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

All admissions are free. Our visitors come from all over the world.

Total number of off-site performances held

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We hosted "Tails on the Trail" for the first time. We had actors portraying local historical figures.

Total number of periodical subscribers

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Our newsletter, the Saddlebag, is sent out to all members each month.

Number of works exhibited temporarily

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

Art Gallery

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Each month, we have exhibits from the Kern River Valley Art Association and works from our own collection in our Art Gallery.

Number of books distributed

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

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our gift shop sells books about local history, natural history, and county history. We also sell children's books.

Number of books published for previously published writers

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

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We are back in the publishing business! We published an old manuscript by Ken Wortley. It is called "Adventures of a Packer and Guide." We have another book about the Isabella Dam in the works.

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.

Our overall goal is to preserve our local history and teach others about the importance of the area in the settling of California, as well as the economic impact that our gold era mines, our hydroelectric plants and our tourism had on the development of California.

We recently built a 1700 square foot research annex. The Historical Society has an extensive collection of artifacts, documents, Western art, and 5,000 books bequeathed to us by local activists Ardis and Gayle Walker. Walker was from a Kern Valley pioneer family. He was also a county supervisor, conservationist, poet and community activist. He kept everything and within his collection, are important historical documents covering several generations. The annex will house the Walker collection and many other documents owned by the Historical Society. We also have collections from Bob Powers, Bill Jenkins, and the Creighton/Hand family.

We are in the process of archiving and digitally archiving all of the documents, organizing the books, and displaying the Native American artifacts, Western art and other artifacts.

We are currently working on outreach to colleges, other historical societies, and the local community.

We have also gotten back into the publishing business. In 2022, we found an old manuscript by local Mule Packer, Ken Wortley. We published it in 2022. We are now working on a book on the Isabella Dam.

We are working towards accomplishing the following: 1) Gather and organize and archive the thousands of documents in the Walker collection and the Bob Powers Collection. 2) Catalog the 5,000 books in the collection. 3) Catalog the Native American artifacts, gold rush artifacts, Western Art, antiques, and other artifacts in the collection. 4) letting interested parties know that the collection is available. 5) Gather donations of more materials from pioneer families. 6) Publish books about the area.

We have made great strides in sorting, scanning and cataloging the collection. We have partnered with Chris Livingston, the archivist at CSU, Bakersfield. He has been a wealth of information for us. We were also recently named a source of information on Kern County by the California State Library. In 2022, we had an unpaid intern from Fresno Pacific University.

As an all volunteer organization, we are proud of the fact that we can tackle large projects such as this. We are also proud to say we are debt free. Our museum started in 1967 as a small collection of local artifacts housed in a room at the local Chamber of Commerce. In 1989, we purchased an old doctor's office and renovated it into the original museum, and added a large addition in 1996. We have also done smaller projects like moving the Mayflower Cabin from Greenhorn Mountain to the museum back yard, constructing a large patio area to house outdoor displays, moving an old stamp mill from the Paiute Mountains to the museum back yard, and the construction a large outdoor theater/meeting room. With each project, we have managed to stay out of debt. We have also relied heavily on our large group of volunteers.

We have completed the construction on the Research Annex. We have catalogued all of the books and sorted all of the ducuments in the collection. We are now organizing and cataloguing the documents. We are also scanning and cataloguing photos. This will take several years.

In the meantime, we are writing grants, conducting fundraisers, and speaking at local civic groups to get donations. We have solicited donations from our membership as well.

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 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

  • 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 act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

Financials

Kern River Valley Historical Society
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
NET GAIN/LOSS:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

0.00

Average of 0.00 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

42.4

Average of 33.6 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

0%

Average of 0% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Kern River Valley Historical Society

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Kern River Valley Historical Society

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Kern River Valley Historical Society

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Kern River Valley Historical Society’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $31,686 $9,021 -$8,723 $50,925 $22,730
As % of expenses 54.3% 21.8% -21.1% 156.3% 39.3%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $31,686 -$8,093 -$48,965 $50,925 -$39,939
As % of expenses 54.3% -13.8% -60.1% 156.3% -33.1%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $90,073 $83,154 $32,571 $49,554 $80,607
Total revenue, % change over prior year 18.3% -7.7% -60.8% 52.1% 62.7%
Program services revenue 2.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Membership dues 11.7% 13.2% 27.6% 18.3% 8.3%
Investment income 5.2% 6.7% 7.0% 0.0% 4.7%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 4.6% 10.1% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 81.1% 80.1% 60.8% 71.6% 87.0%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $58,387 $41,339 $41,294 $32,586 $57,877
Total expenses, % change over prior year 51.7% -29.2% -0.1% -21.1% 77.6%
Personnel 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Professional fees 1.0% 2.8% 4.9% 0.0% 11.1%
Occupancy 64.8% 29.8% 0.0% 0.0% 42.4%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 34.2% 67.4% 95.1% 100.0% 46.6%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $58,387 $58,453 $81,536 $32,586 $120,546
One month of savings $4,866 $3,445 $3,441 $2,716 $4,823
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $12,051 $38,112 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $75,304 $100,010 $84,977 $35,302 $125,369

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 34.3 49.5 47.0 66.7 42.4
Months of cash and investments 34.3 49.5 47.0 66.7 42.4
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets -18.0 -33.8 -36.4 -27.4 -10.6
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $166,716 $170,419 $161,696 $181,077 $204,388
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $680,347 $723,168 $723,168 $723,168 $723,168
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 19.4% 21.3% 26.8% 26.8% 35.6%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Unrestricted net assets $461,037 $452,944 $403,979 $454,904 $414,965
Temporarily restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $254,162 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $254,162 $286,956 $286,956 $255,412 $255,412
Total net assets $715,199 $739,900 $690,935 $710,316 $670,377

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No

Operations

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

Documents
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

President

John Newman

John is a retired Forest Service employee. He has been a board member serving as our vice President in charge of Facilities. He coordinates the activities of the maintenance committee and keeps our facilities in tip-top shape. He has also served on the Finance Committee.

Vice President, Museum

Erie Johnnson

Erie is a long-time board member who has served in many different capacities including President. He is presently our Vice President of Education. He is a retired educator and was the administrator of the Isabella branch of Cero Coso Community College.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Kern River Valley Historical Society

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Compensation
Other
Related
Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Kern River Valley Historical Society

Board of directors
as of 11/17/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board co-chair

John Newman

Retired

Term: 2023 - 2024


Board co-chair

Erie Johnson

Retired

Term: 2023 - 2024

Dianna Anderson

Retired Teacher

Kathleen Creighton-Fuchs

Author

Ron Anderson

Retired Teacher

JoAnn Johnson

Retired Teacher

CharlAnn Gregory

Retired Teacher

Gene Verbeet

Retired Self Employed

Don Chapman

Retired

Melody Batelaan

Retired Social Worker

Michael Batelaan

Retired Newspaper Owner

Tom McKinney

Retired Edison Co.

Linda Kubisiak

Retired

Harry Schustz

Computer tech

Donni Higgins

Retired

Diane Zemliak

Retired

Marji Bothwell

Retired teacher

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 ? Not applicable
  • 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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/17/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/17/2023

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

Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • 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.