Let me introduce you to Kay Miniver. I’m sure that name is vaguely familiar. You probably know her better as Mrs. Miniver, the unassuming British housewife in the 1942 movie Mrs. Miniver. The character of Mrs. Miniver was so well-written, so believable, that it was thought she and her family lived in a small village near London. She, in fact, was fictional, the creation of the brilliant English writer Jan Struther.
Mrs. Miniver remains immensely popular largely because she had a gift for expressing profound thoughts simply. For example, Mrs. Miniver on rear-view mirrors: “She wondered why it had never occurred to her before that you cannot successfully navigate the future unless you keep always framed beside it a small, clear image of the past.”
I like to think that Mrs. Miniver sat on the board of directors of the fictional museum in her local community. Her razor-sharp insight explains exactly why museums exist. Museums work tirelessly to keep the past clearly in focus, always at the ready for that moment you glance back before forging ahead into the future.
The future of the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum has become the primary topic of discussion at the Museum’s board meetings. Although ironic for an organization devoted to the past, it is the future of the Museum that is drawing the board’s full attention. The board intends to plot a course that will successfully guide the Museum for the next ten years and beyond, to ensure that the Museum continues to help the Snoqualmie Valley navigate the future.
Over the next year, the board will focus on defining and refining exactly what the Museum is now and will be ten years; what kind of building and infrastructure it will have; how its collection will be grown, preserved, protected, and presented; and, most importantly, how it will serve the community.
We, on the board, are often asked by friends, community leaders, businesses, and schools, “What can I do to help the Museum?” We sincerely appreciate hearing that question! As we plan the future of the Museum will be carefully crafting a response to that question. We will be able to respond precisely with the best way each of you can help the Museum.
Your participation in our planning process is welcome and your input welcome! We’ll create a process for gathering your thoughts as part of our plan.
For now, please take a look at the Museum in your rear-view mirror the next time you drive down Bendigo Blvd. The building reflected in your mirror is unceasingly preserving Snoqualmie Valley’s past so that we all can successfully navigate our community’s future.
-Kevin Burrows, Board President
Since the Bylaws of the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Society were first drafted in 1960, they have been amended 8 times, most recently in November 2021. On January 1, 2022, the new Washington Nonprofit Corporation Act went into effect, necessitating the replacement of our current of bylaws. This Act was an effort to modernize and clarify the law that governs nonprofit organizations like the Museum.
Over the winter, a board Bylaw Review Committee was formed, consisting of secretary Beth Burrows, board member Steven Moses, and chaired by vice president Emily Lee. The committee outlined priorities for this review process, including preservation of existing language whenever possible, clarity and precision of language, and a format that was well-organized for ease of use. Most changes are necessitated by the new Act, as codified in Chapter 24.03A RCW. The board also used this opportunity to formalize and methodize practices that have evolved organically over the years and are working well but were not described in our bylaws.
Key changes made to the bylaws include:
· Moving from two membership meetings per year to a single membership meeting each November (2d: Annual Meeting), as has been practice in recent years and is adequate
· Election of officers moves from the annual membership meeting to the annual board meeting immediately following. This allows the board to elect officers based on who has actually been elected to serve as trustees for the following year (4b: Election and Term of Office)
· Transitioning the nominating committee to a standing committee to allow for year-round cultivation of potential new board members (3di: Nominations and 3ui3: Nominating Committee)
· Creation of a standing staffing committee to formalize the process by which the board of trustees hire employees of the museum, conduct performance reviews, and review job descriptions (3ui2: Staffing Committee)
· Language to describe under what circumstances a remote meeting may be held, as required by the new Act (2l: Remote Meetings)
· Language to allow notice for meetings to be sent electronically, as well as new parameters for such notice as described in the new Act (2g: Notice of Meetings and 3i: Notice)
· Relocating language that was previously part of the bylaws to more appropriate locations in the policy documents of the museum, since as our Collections Policy or Staff Job Descriptions
Please find the purposed Bylaws for approval at the November 20, 2022 Annual Meeting.