Census & Learning Collaborative Fellowship
Historic Site Census & Learning Collaborative Fellowship
The goal of the Historic Sites Coalition of Rhode Island (HSCRI) summer initiative was to gather information about the sites in the Coalition and prepare for the creation of Preserve Rhode Island's (PRI) Learning Collaborative.
Three fellows, funded by the 1772 Foundation, created a series of seven surveys to gauge sites' physical and financial health. The information gathered from these surveys allowed the fellows and PRI to analyze sites in comparison with each other and draw conclusions about what types of collaborations may benefit these sites in the future. The information gathered from the surveys was put into an existing database using FileMaker Pro. This program will allow PRI to sort fields to obtain information about specific topics such as budget, endowments, or educational programs.
Using the information gathered from survey responses and site visits, a number of supplemental media projects were developed. Both PRI and HSCRI members have expressed an interest in developing how historic sites network with each other. Sample brochures were created for thematic historical tours (Victorian Rhode Island, Colonial Rhode Island) and regional tours (Providence walking tour). A short film, called We Preserve Rhode Island, now featured on YouTube, showcasing photos of HSCRI sites and brief interviews with a number of site staff was created for use as a marketing tool.
A Facebook page for the HSCRI was created to increase the Coalition's web presence. This page has served as a forum for discussion of preservation issues and a showcase for photos and information about HSCRI sites. In addition to the Facebook page, a sample website template was created specifically for the HSCRI. This sample is not yet online, but contains space for news, photos, a Google map of sites, a place to embed the short film created for the HSCRI, and blog space for members to interact.
The major product of the HSCRI Summer Initiative is a work plan to assist PRI in implementing changes that will improve the efficiency of the HSCRI and its member site through the creation of a Learning Collaborative. The work plan includes suggestions for annual meetings and quarterly workshops for HSCRI members; a mentorship program where sites would share staff on a monthly basis in order to improve efficiency and gain skills; innovative ways to recruit new volunteers, including partnering with Rhode Island colleges and universities, developing a relationship with AmeriCorps through Serve Rhode Island, and utilizing work release and community service programs.
As the HSCRI continues to develop and improve its efficiency, additional programs to benefit its members should be considered. Joint advertizing of sites could benefit sites and increase the visibility of the HSCRI and PRI in the community. The development of a logo for the HSCRI would assist in the branding of the Coalition as an entity dedicated to actively improving the functions of Rhode Island's historic sites and organizations.
PRI's Learning Collaborative will be a synthesis of the information gathered this summer, and will be the driving force behind the improvement of the HSCRI and its member sites. With the cooperation of the HSCRI members and the use of the Learning Collaborative, the health and connections of Rhode Island's historic sites will increase their sustainability for the future.
View Historic Sites Coalition in a larger map