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January 4, 2013

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22 FRIDAY, JANUARY 4- MONDAY, JANUARY 7, 2013 NEWS Lewes society seeks to boost its historic cachet .Accreditation to attract 00nding, donations By Henry J. Evans Jr. Lewes Historical Society has applied for nationally recognized accreditation. Completing an extensive application was a lengthy process, and confirmation the society meets the rigorous standards for accreditation is probably months away. But if approved, "... accreditation would put us in the company of the top museums in the country," said Mike DiPaolo, Lewes HistoricalSociety executive director. If it gains accreditation, Lewes Historical Society would join Delaware Art Museum, Hagley Museum and Library, and Win- terthur Museum, Garden and Library as Delaware's only accredited museums. The American Alliance of Museums is the nationally recognized accreditation agency. Based in Washington, D.C., the al- liance's mission is to nurture excellence in museums through advocacy and service Accreditation demonstrates the historical PHOTOS COURTESY OF LEWES HISTORICAL SOCIETY The Plank House, top, and the Rabbits Ferry House are part of the Lewes Historical Society. society's high standards and its ability to properly care for items that are lent or do- nated to the museum, DiPaolo sai& DiPaolo said a year of self-study is part of the application. The historical society reviews policies and operating proce- dures, and answers dozens of questions during the year. "Questions were about nonprofit man- agement issues, how we audit our fi- nances, how we do our budget and things of that nature," he said. He said there were also questions about the types of programs offered, community outreach, collection acquisition, manage- ment and accounting. Also included were questions about publicity and outreach, educational pro- grams, buildings and grounds, gover- nance, board structure and procedures for delegating staff jobs. "It was a big process. It took a lot of ef- fort on the part of members and the board," DiPaolo said. He said Fran Rich- mann, the society's immediate past presi- dent served as chairwoman of the accredi- tation effort, and her husband, ]im, assist- ed her. DiPaolo said completing the application involved compiling a lot of information that, for the most part, the society already had on hand. Some issues-had to be for- malized at the board level, he said. DiPaolo said he thinks the alliance might contact the society to review the ap- plication before the end of this year or ear- ly next year. Nationwide, about 800 museums have been accredited by the alliance. "There are small museums and historical soci- eties all around the country that are ac- credited. You don't have to be a Smithson- Jan or metropolitan museum to be accred- ited," DiPaolo said. The alliance will use a volunteer peer review committee to evaluate the society's application. If it meets accreditation re- quirements, an alliance representative will visit the historical society in about a year, DiPaolo said. "They'll be the on-the-ground fact- checker, making sure we didn't fabricate anything" he said.- Cape Gazette HENRY J. EVANS JR. PHOTO LEWES HISTORICAL SOCIETY MEMBERS recently completed and submitted an application that, if approved, will make the organization the fourth in the state to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Shown behind the society's Cannonball House are members who put in hours to complete the extensive accreditation application. In back are (I-r) Barbara Vaughan, Fran Richmann, Libby Owen, Ann Hilaman and Michelle Kitchen. In front are Mike DiPaolo, executive director; Dick Bryan, Russ Allen, president; Gavin Braithwaite; and John McGovern. Among benefits of accreditation is that it helps loosen purse strings. "It verifies to funders and donors that we uphold the highest standards in terms of our manage- ment and museum programming. Going to a granting agency as an accredited mu- seum carries a lot of weight," DiPaolo said. Accreditation is meaningful to those who donate money or private collections, DiPaolo said, because it.confirms the soci- ety. is capable of properly'handling both. DiPaolo said historical society mem- bers learned a lot about the organization as they worked to complete the volumi- nous application. "Going through the process really opened a lot of people's eyes about every- thing that goes on here. To see what we do in one place in terms of advocacy, collec- tions management, publications, educa- tiolal programs, and events and pro- grams that happen on the ground, there are a lot of things that are ongoing," DiPao- lo said. American Alliance of Museums uses three categories - objects, photographic images and archived material - to measure a museum's collection. ', vast majority of the archival material is in storage, and a vast majority of the ob- jects are on exhibit," said DiPaolo. Objects are displayed in the society's buildings. The society's library is always available, DiPaolo said, and photographic images are being scanned to make them accessible through the society's website at An extensive collection American Alliance of Museums uses three categories - objects, photographic images ond orchived material - to measure a museum's collection Objects The historical society has an estimated 10,000 objects in its collection. The word estimated is used because the collection grows constantly. The count includes items such as a spoon, firearm, piece of furniture and painting Photos There are more than 100,000 photographic images, including prints, negatives, films, proofs and digitally created material in the society's collection. The library contains more than Archive 3,000 volumes, all focused on Lewes and Delaware history. Archived materials, such as books and papers, are measured by the linear foot, The society has about 300 feet of archives Lewes Historical Society to hire educator To expand programs, reach out to schools By Henry J. Evans Jr. Lewes Historical Society has received a $90,000 grant that so- ciety officials say will transform the organization's role. The Jessie Ball dUPont Fund has awarded the grant to fund a director of education for the next three years. The director will de- velop new, original, multidiscipli- nary, year-round programs high- lighting the society's collection. "This is going to be transforma- tive for the society," said Mike Di- Paol0, Lewes Historical Society executive director. The society will receive the Jessie Ball duPont Fund grant money over a three-year period for salary and expansion of edu- cational programs. DiPaolo said after three years, the society and the community it serves would see the position's value and continue to fund it and new programs. He said the organization has re- ceived several applications from people who are qualified to fill the position. Interviews will be conducted in January, and the successful candidate will start work in February, DiPaolo said. 'm educator will show the sig- nificance of our collection and be in touch with schools, students, said. The education director will al- so be responsible for coordinat- ing education programs for stu- dents in kindergarten through high school, training docents, and collaborating with community organizations. The society's collections and Lewes' heritage allow it to draw from the arts, humanities, and sci- ences to create and develop edu- cational programs, DiPaolo said. New programs will increase ac- cess to and relevance of the his- torical society's collections and campus locally and statewide. In 2011, an educational consult- ant found the society needed an education director to meet its ed- ucation mission. The education better familiarize the public with its collections, local history and properties. Those interested in the educa- tion director's position should email a cover letter and resume to, and use Educator Search as the subject. teachers and the community," he JESSIEBALL DUPONT FUND The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is a founda'tithat grants money to organizaCns ose eligibility was determined exclusively by duPont's personal philanthropic. decisions. Eligibility is based on those groups duPont selected to be gift reci pients Jan. 1, 1960 through Dec. 3]. 1964. Only about 300 organizations are eligible for foundation funds; The fQdation makes grants totaling $12 million to $18 million director will help the society to Applicants using the U.S. P6stal Service should send cover letter and resume to The Lewes Historical Society, Attn: Educator Search, 110 Shipcarpenter St., Lewes De. 19958. No phone calls, please. The society is an equal opportunity employer. a year. Fund rectpients reflect the range of organizations she had given to during the four-year period. Large institutions, such as Christiana Care Health System and Yale University, and small organizations such as Talleyvie Fire Company in Delaware and Washington College in Maryland, are grant recipients. "It is an incredibly unique situation given by Jessie Ball duPont;' DiPaolo said.