The 2014 Merrill Historical Society Board of Directors are, front from left, Pat Burg, Bea Lebal, Erin McCarthy; back row, Marie Marrier, Chuck Novitch, Ken Adams, Bill Krueger, Yurgen Markewycz, Lee Ann Ross, Jane Francoeur; missing from photo are David Finanger, David Johnson, Marie Rein, Wayne Vandre and Mike Weckwerth.
The 2014 Merrill Historical Society Board of Directors are, front from left, Pat Burg, Bea Lebal, Erin McCarthy; back row, Marie Marrier, Chuck Novitch, Ken Adams, Bill Krueger, Yurgen Markewycz, Lee Ann Ross, Jane Francoeur; missing from photo are David Finanger, David Johnson, Marie Rein, Wayne Vandre and Mike Weckwerth.
The Merrill Historical Society Board of Directors recently completed an eight-month series of meetings with Art Lersch, Lincoln County University of Wisconsin Community Resource Development Educator, that has resulted in a new organizational structure for the 36-year old society.
“The Merrill Historical Society is close to completing the building/renovation project that has been our primary focus for the past two years,” states Bea Lebal, Historical Society President. “The new, permanent facility gave us the opportunity, and the challenge, to rethink our organizational structure and operations.”
The new organizational structure of the Society features five major committees populated by Board members as well as regular members of the Society.
*Finance-oversees the Society’s financial operations such as creating and monitoring accounts, making investments, and developing budgets.
*Fundraising-creates and implements methods to increase Society membership and provide ample funding for sustainable operation of the museum; includes calendar development and events.
*Education-oversees activities at the Brickyard School and provides School outreach.
*Property-oversees facilities and maintenance.
*Museum-develops exhibits and programs, oversees library and collections.
The Board also created a marketing coordinator position to work with all the committees to enhance the Society’s media presence.
In anticipation of the Society’s new structure, the Board’s size was increased from 13 to 15 members at the end of 2013. All Board members agreed to serve with the knowledge that they would each be actively involved in committee work and the day-to-day operations of the Historical Society.
“The Merrill Historical Society’s mission is to educate the public about our heritage using the unique historical and cultural resources we collect and preserve.” This is the new mission statement which will be included in Society marketing materials, on the website, and in other strategic locations. Patricia Burg, Treasurer of the Society explains, “While our previous mission statement was focused more on the education and appreciation of history, our new statement reflects that Merrill is also unique as a community and that the Historical Society is charged with collecting and preserving documents and artifacts that help us to enjoy and relive the past while looking forward to the future. Creating this mission statement together gives all the board members a connection to our heritage and the commitment to collect, preserve and share it with the public.”
New Board member Wayne Vandre adds, “A vision statement is important if not critical for any organization that is governed by a board of volunteers. The process of developing our vision statement, ‘Engaging the past in new and exciting ways,’ allowed all members the opportunity to not only learn about the organization but to provide their perspective on what the society should look like and what it should accomplish in the future. Without a common shared vision a governing board will struggle to understand and to reach the objectives of that organization.”
Goals for the Society were also developed during the planning process. In the next three years the organization intends to:
1. Finish construction and landscaping projects. This goal is the primary focus of the Society in 2014. 
2. Revise the Historical Society organizational structure. Much of this work was done during the planning process, although more review of by-laws and organizational procedures will continue to take place. 
3. Develop museum exhibits. 
4. Create and implement comprehensive, ongoing fundraising strategies.
5. Establish regular programming. The museum should be filled with activity.
6. Develop and implement a comprehensive marketing plan - an organized way of telling the public about the Society, what it does, and how people can support it. 
“With this new organizational structure to focus the Society’s efforts, the real work of turning our beautiful new facility into a destination spot for locals and visitors can begin to move forward,” comments Board member Jane Francoeur. 
The Board is excited by all the possibilities ahead and invites you to become an active participant. For more information about becoming a volunteer or a member of the Merrill Historical Society, please call 715-536-5652 or email at merrillhs@frontier.com