Thursday, May 5, 2016

40 Years and Counting!

I can't believe that the San Lorenzo Valley Historical Society is 40 years old as far as a federally recognized non profit goes.  In fact, the essence of what the original group wanted to create happened several years earlier - back into the 1960's.  There were some starts and stops, efforts that didn't work out as planned, patience, determination, and faith all leading up to where the Historical Society and the San Lorenzo Valley Museum is today - 40 + years later.  Today, those original founders and members would be very proud of the growth and depth that the Society has experienced in every area of the organization.   In 2006 the SLV Museum celebrated the 100th birthday of the historic church building that houses the Museum with a 'Centennial Celebration' at the Johnson Farm up Two Bar Road north of Boulder Creek. 

This year we are borrowing some of the activities and 'flavor' we had at that celebration for a 'Heritage Day' event being held on Sat, May 21st between 12 - 4 pm on the Museum grounds.  We are adding some different demonstrations this time around, like a blacksmith demonstrating how a forge is used to make utensils and tools out of iron.  Also wool spinning, cheese making, wood carving, and lumbering such as shingle, shake, and grapestake.  Not sure the difference?  Stop by and step back 100 years to see how our early settlers lived.

I enjoyed the previous celebration at the Johnson Farm very much, but am looking forward to this celebration even more!  Having it on the Museum grounds is definitely a plus and it will let everyone have the opportunity to visit the Museum and experience the latest exhibit, 'Big Basin Auto Tree: One Tree, Many Stories', our permanent exhibits, and the 1902 panoramic photos of Boulder Creek showing horse-drawn wagons by the railroad yard and horse-drawn buggies in front of businesses on Highway 9.  I'm looking forward to watching parents enjoy playing some of the old fashioned games with their children, taking photos of them in settlers clothes, and kneading dough to make bread (no pre-packaged bread back then). 

Lastly, I'm overwhelmed by the number of volunteers who are eager to show our community, especially the children, what life was like for their grandparents when they were children.  They are working hard to provide an experience that all ages will remember for years to come.  I can't thank our volunteers enough for their dedication and commitment in making this day of celebration a special one.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

2016 - Lots to Get Excited About!

So far this new year of 2016 has been filled with so many new changes I feel like I don't know which way to look first!  Our great traveling exhibit about California civil rights has been packed up and has left the museum.  Our next exhibit is one we are co-sponsoring with Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is the 'Big Basin Auto Tree: One Tree, Many Stories'.   It has been on display there, but has been packed up and will be opening at the SLV Museum on Sat, April 9th with an opening reception for the community from 2 - 4 pm.  This fascinating exhibit will display  the curator's, historian Frank Perry, collection of Auto Tree photos and postcards for over 30 years as well as some never-shown before gems.  We will be having an activity area for visitors both young and old alike.  We are also planning a talk later in the year about viewing our beloved redwoods from a different perspective - as architecture. 

I was all ready to join our fellow hikers on Sun, April 3rd for a history hike at Quail Hollow Ranch along the trails going back to a time before the Ohlones.  However, I had a conflict and was very disappointed to miss it.  Our group of hikers quickly reached its maximum of 25, but I have continued to be receiving calls from those interested in joining the hike.  Good news - We are talking with the Quail Hollow Ranch park interpreter to schedule a second hike.  Date and time to be scheduled, but I will definitely not miss this one.

If you haven't volunteered for a non profit you might not be aware that non profits watch the monetary donations they receive very closely and become very very good at stretching those funds.  An example is our office area which has been furnished with donated desks, file cabinets (both letter and legal so both sizes of folders are needed), bookcases, and storage cabinets.  Dented, drawers not quite sliding smoothly, sometimes a needed strong yank to open - you get the idea.  Our IT infrastructure was even worse.  Our PCs all ran different versions of Office, they were connected together in a line so it was very slow trying to look at and work on a file located on a different PC from the one you were on.  Printers were slow and no color - color was achieved by using colored paper.  We held a Fund-IT Campaign last year and through the generosity of our supporters and using other non profits to help stretch our monetary donations we now have a completely new and current PC infrastructure on a true network file server.  We went through Tech Soup to order newer versions of our software applications.  We were even lucky to have newer office furniture donated by a business vacating their office building so new modular desks, lateral file cabinets, and tall storage cabinets.  We also now have a color printer and portable scanner.  I'll be able to do more in-house printing and look more professional at the same time!

As a non profit we do not make a product and sell it to bring in our revenue.  We depend on our supporters through becoming members and renewing each year, sponsoring an exhibit on a subject they are excited about, visitors who appreciate that we do NOT charge to enter the San Lorenzo Valley Museum, but keep our doors open to anyone who enjoys history and our museum.  We submit grants (and have been successful more times than not), and operate a bookstore.  The word 'non profit' does not mean we work in the 'red' - if we did the IRS would take away our tax exempt status.  Non profit means we need to be fiscally responsible with monetary funds given to us so that we can pay our bills and any funds left over goes into fulfilling our mission, which is' to gather and share the history of the San Lorenzo Valley'.    We DO NOT use excess funds on excessive salaries, leasing a car, taking trips with family and friends, or buying expensive meals and materials.  We believe we have a duty and obligation to be the caretakers of our church building and all the artifacts in the Collection so in another 100 years the San Lorenzo Valley community can enjoy and treasure them as we have.  Thank you to everyone who has supported the San Lorenzo Valley Museum in a monetary way.  It is greatly appreciated.