Nelson County Historical Society
Membership Survey Summary April 2022
Planning and Development Committee
Susan Gardner, Chair
There were thirty-seven responses to the membership survey, a return of approximately 10% of the Nelson County Historical Society membership. Given the number of members that don’t have an email address on file, we had hoped for at least fifty-eight responses; however, there were twenty-two returned as “address not found” and two as “blocked” so all-in-all we were pleased with our first attempt at a survey. Members’ responses and thoughtful comments will help us going forward as we plan the future goals of the Society. The Board and Planning & Development committee members thank everyone who participated.
In analyzing the results of the survey, the Planning & Development committee members realize the importance of publicity for the Society in order to sustain our growth. In that regard, we need to develop stronger ties within our community through social media, work with other Nelson County organizations, enable free access to our quarterly newsletter, and improve communications with our membership. Our newsletter, which several members gave high praise, has been a great means of communication through the years, but we realize that there needs to be more frequent interaction with the Membership to keep everyone up-to-date on all the events and activities at Oakland. Members can help by updating their contact information when they renew their membership.
We also recognize that members would like some exclusive benefits for joining Nelson County Historical Society. While many of you joined to support the Society’s mission, simply have an interest in Nelson County history, or have ancestors in the county, there are still some basic benefits that the majority of respondents would enjoy: discounts on bookstore purchases, workshops, and activities; membership in the North American Reciprocal Museum Association; and free tours of Oakland and free programs (non-members would pay $5 for tours and programs).
The number one area of program interest was genealogy, followed closely by homes, buildings, and other structures, which not surprisingly was the number one activity/event that members are most interested in. All the program and activity results will be used by the Programs and Events committee for future planning; some of the suggestions may even be combined or used as newsletter or fundraising ideas.
Twenty-seven members gave serious thought to the development of the Oakland property. The majority would like to see an outdoor pavilion built where events such as music performances, meetings, outdoor plays, and programs could be held. This could also be a revenue source for the Society if other organizations and individuals rent the pavilion for programs and events. A new handicap accessible building to house meeting, exhibit and archive space has also been suggested, with the possibility of returning Oakland back to its original tavern state. This will require a capital campaign, grants, and long-term fundraising, but a worthwhile goal. Several other suggestions were historical outbuildings and a nature trail. A plea was made to preserve the historic appearance of the property; rest assured the Society will keep that foremost in all our plans.
A few final thoughts from members:
  • Increase days open to the public
  • Membership cards
  • Digitize more genealogical records that are only available in library files
  • Revamp website; difficult to search
  • Work towards hiring an executive director
  • Nelson County Historical Society genealogy Facebook site
  • More outreach for young people