So, what it is like to be a member of the board of directors of a nonprofit organization such as the Tri-Cities Historical Museum? In a word, it is a responsibility.
The board has control over how we spend the public’s money. The museum is principally funded from Tri-Cities communities including Spring Lake Village, Spring Lake Township, the cities of Grand Haven and Ferrysburg, and Grand Haven Township through monies that come from a millage. The board is responsible to ensure your tax funds are used efficiently and effectively.
The citizens of the Tri-Cities area, through supporting the millage, provide 85 percent of the money needed to run the museum. Memberships provide less than 1 percent of our budget. Raising the remaining 14 percent of the museum budget through benefits, grants and gifts to the museum is the responsibility of the board.
The board meets monthly. In addition, an executive committee and other committees may meet more frequently as needed to provide the director and staff with the guidance necessary to carry out their duties.
The museum is the keeper of your history. The board sets the policy that helps to preserve your artifacts for posterity, and to enable future generations to know the story of who we have been and who we are. To do this, the board sets policies which the museum director administers.
The board and the director would be nothing without the staff and the volunteers who carry out the daily work of the museum. The staff members collect the artifacts, the news stories and pictures that show our history. They preserve that history both electronically and in a climate-controlled warehouse.
Exhibits are the public face of the museum. They are the visual, auditory and tactile representations of things past and present in our area. Exhibits show how our community has grown and changed from age to age.
The curator of education teaches both young and old about the roads we have traveled to become what we are today. Other staff members do research to pass on our history and culture to our citizens and students.
The Tri-Cities Historical Museum Board has final approval of personnel policies, and the responsibility to ensure that those museum policies are practiced and administered fairly.
Finally, it is the board's job to listen to you, the citizens, to provide the services and exhibits that will encourage your interest in our history.
I consider it an honor to be a board member of the Tri-Cities Historical Museum — but I also consider it my responsibility to listen to you, the citizen, and to preserve your history.
— Nancy Solon is president of the Tri-Cities Historical Museum Board of Directors.