Find historical societies. Historical societies provide information on the history and culture of a specific area, through the use of museum and library art exhibits and programs.
A Historical Society is a local organization dedicated to studying, preserving, and fostering an appreciation of the past, with an emphasis on the local community's history. Historical Societies encourage and engage in the collection and preservation of historical artifacts, photographs, and personal stories. Many Historical Societies conduct research about local businesses and families, which they make accessible and available to the public.
Some Historical Societies specialize in a single aspect of local history. A Historical Society may highlight a local institution, such as a university, church, or business. Alternatively, their focus may be on a particular group, such as an ethnicity, profession, or religious group. Some Historical Societies work to preserve historic buildings and properties, ensuring that neighborhoods maintain the historic character that helps define the community. These efforts often involve close work with local and state government agencies, to list buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, create historic districts, and ensure that historic preservation ordinances and guidelines are established and enforced.
Many Historical Societies are staffed and organized by volunteers, who often become involved in order to preserve the legacy of their ancestors or to honor local heroes. Other Historical Societies are professional organizations that have paid staff. These organizations may run museums and educational programs, and a government or business entity may manage these Historical Societies. Many Historical Societies provide resources to help smaller organizations or individuals with research projects. In addition, they provide events for school-age children both in the schools and at their facilities.
Funding for Historical Societies can come from a combination of sources, including government support, universities, and businesses, as well as private donations, endowments, and grants. Many Historical Societies rely on fundraisers as a significant source of revenue. Fundraisers may include tours of historical buildings, sponsored talks and historic reenactments, and genealogy events.
Many Historical Societies have an online presence where they provide valuable information about sponsored events and programs. Historical Society websites commonly post historic photographs or articles on topics of local historic interest. Some provide online databases to help with genealogy research, immigration activity, or census related data.