What is the role of a local historical society?

As the president of the Westlake Historical Society, I am often asked,"What is the role of a local historical society?" To be more specific, what is the role of the Westlake Historical Society? I have given this question a lot of consideration, and thought maybe I would ask others for their answers.

Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough answered this way: "The Westlake Historical Society provides a wealth of information about those who have come before us to help us understand how and why Westlake has progressed into the premier community it is today. Without the ability to know our past and those pioneers who helped shape Westlake, we would be like a star lost in the universe.

"The Westlake Historical Society is an essential and integral partner of the Westlake family of history. As Mayor of Westlake, I am pleased and enthusiastic to be associated with and supportive of the Historical Society and all those who currently serve or have served as members of this important organization."

Jayna Hanson, former Westlake Historical Society student scholarship winner and current Processing Archivist of American Art at the Smithsonian Institute shared the following:  

"I think a local historical society is important because it creates connections between the present and the past. It preserves the memory of those who have built and enriched our collective history as a community and assures those who are active today that their story will be preserved as well. Someone doesn't need to have familial ties to a place – if they are able to find that connection from a home, street or neighborhood, church or activity, they will have a personal link to the past."

There's no better way to nurture an interest in history than to start at the smallest level – in your own backyard (and maybe sometimes INSIDE your house)!

In the coming weeks, I will share more thoughts about the importance and role of our local historical society. I look forward to providing a better idea of how we serve our community. It is my hope that you join me on our history journey.

Lysa Stanton

Lysa Stanton is president of the Westlake Historical Society.

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Volume 3, Issue 8, Posted 6:13 PM, 04.19.2011