This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Welcome to the Mill Museum Video

Address: 411 Main Street, Willimantic, CT 06226 Phone: 860-456-2178 Email: themillmuseum@gmail.com Hours of Operation: Fri, Sat & Sun  – 10 am – 4 pm

OUR MISSION:

The Windham Textile and History Museum (the Mill Museum of Connecticut), located in the historic former headquarters of the American Thread Company of Willimantic, Connecticut, is a non-profit educational institution housing a museum, a library, and an archive. Through its exhibits, programs, and collections, the museum preserves and interprets the history of textiles, textile arts and the textile industry, with special emphasis on the experiences of the craftspeople, industrial workers, manufacturers, inventors, designers, and consumers. The museum also promotes greater understanding of major trends and changes in technology, economy, immigration, society, environment, and culture that shaped Connecticut, New England, and the United States from the colonial period to the present.

OUR VISION:

The Windham Textile and History Museum (the Mill Museum of Connecticut) envisions being a place where the experiences, lives, struggles, triumphs, tragedies, and legacies of the children, women, and men who came to the textile towns of Connecticut to labor in the mills, open businesses, own and manage factories, pursue the textile arts, educate themselves and others in the textile arts and sciences, raise families, build cities, and create communities will be remembered, so that those who live in the post-industrial present may better understand and influence the world we have inherited from them.

OUR STAFF:

  • Executive Director, Jamie Eves
  • Educational Director, Bev York
  • Collections Manager, Rita Allen

OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

  • Dawn Bakke (President)
  • Kira Holmes (Vice President)
  • Diana Perkins (Secretary)
  • Claire Lary (Treasurer)
  • Andrea Ader
  • Michael Ader
  • Shane Goodrich
  • Pam Horrocks
  • Faith Kenton
  • Chelsey Knyff
  • John Knyff
  • Corey Krohn
  • Suzanne LaTulipe
  • Kathy Miller
  • Paula Sullivan

OUR BUILDINGS:

The Windham Textile & History Museum (also known as the Mill Museum of Connecticut) was founded in 1989 in Willimantic, a former industrial borough located in the Town of Windham in Windham County, CT. At that time, the Museum acquired ownership of two buildings that had been part of a factory complex once owned by the American Thread Company. ATCO had shut down its Willimantic plant in 1985 and moved out of state. The new owner of the plant, a real estate developer named Jonathan Dugan, had subsequently transferred two of the smaller buildings to the Museum as a gift. Both buildings were located on the north side of Main Street, across the street from the rest of the plant, on a triangular lot bounded by Main Street on the south, Union Street on the northeast, and two privately owned parcels (one containing a Main Street commercial building, the other a Union Street dwelling) on the west. A small, paved parking lot lay between the two buildings, and was part of Dugan’s gift. Both buildings were constructed into the side of Carey Hill, so that the first floor of each opened at ground level onto Main Street and the second floor of each opened at ground level onto Union Street.  

The larger of the two buildings, known as Dunham Hall, was a three-story structure without a basement, mostly constructed in 1877. Originally, the first two floors of this structure had been the company store for the Willimantic Linen Company, the predecessor of the American Thread Company. The third floor had been a library for the WLC’s workers, their families, and other members of the community. Built in Queen Anne / Stick-Eastlake style, Dunham Hall originally featured stick style exterior crossbeams, a sweeping sloped roof with dormers, decorative chimneys, and other attractive High Victorian / Gilded Age features. The exterior of the first floor was brick, the exteriors of the second and third floors were wood. Despite the presence of fireplaces on the third floor, the building was heated by steam. In the early 1890s, the WLC closed the company store.

When ATCO purchased the entire plant from the WLC in 1898, it converted the lower two floors of Dunham Hall into its principle office building. It new bathrooms and interior partitions. It altered the fenestration on the north side, along with a concrete-lined trench, possibly to discourage ground water from entering the building. It removed the original grand staircase, floored over the opening, and replaced it with a smaller staircase in a different location. It reconstructed some of the entrances.

The floor on the first level was poured concrete covered with linoleum, which at some point was replaced with tiles. The floor on the second level was composed of several different types of wood boards: maple, oak, and softwood. Portions of this floor, too, were at some point covered with tiles. ATCO resided the exterior of the upper two floors with wood shingles, removing most of the stick-style crossbeams. Several times, ATCO changed the color of the exterior paint on the wooden portions of the building, which has variously been brown, green, and beige.

The third floor remained a library until about 1940, when it was converted into meeting rooms – at which time, all of the built-in oak and cypress bookshelves were removed.

ATCO did retain some nineteenth-century features, however. These included decorative woodwork with trefoils on all three floors, Eastlake-style ceiling beams on the third floor, wainscoting on the third floor, and fireplaces on the third floor. Much of the building had changed, though. Therefore, historically, Dunham Hall had not one but three different incarnations as a historical structure, used first as a company store and library 1877-1898, then as office space and library 1898-40, and finally as office and meeting space 1940-1985. Each change brought extensive renovations. The Museum has records of many of the renovations in the form of architectural plans and blueprints left behind by ATCO when it moved in 1985.

The second building, known today as Dugan Mill after Jonathan Dugan, was originally a one-story-and-basement brick structure erected by the WLC in 1877 as a warehouse. In the first decade of the twentieth century, ATCO added a brick second floor, designed as the headquarters of the Company’s American Fire Brigade. In the 1920s, ATCO disbanded the fire brigade and completely remodeled the second floor (accessible only from Union Street) as a meeting hall, with adjunct kitchen, coatroom, and toilet. The floor remained maple hardwood, although at some point ATCO covered the wood with tiles. Also at some point, ATCO converted both floors into office space for its engineering department. Thus the Dugan Mill building, like Dunham Hall, had not one but several different  historical incarnations as a structure, used at different times as a warehouse, fire brigade headquarters, meeting hall, and office space. Each change of use was accompanied by extensive renovations. Many of these renovations are recorded on blueprints and architectural diagrams left by ATCO when it moved in 1985.

When the Museum acquired these buildings, it made further, extensive renovations. In most cases, these renovations altered the original uses of the spaces to more traditional museum uses. Only three spaces remained mostly unaltered by the Museum in 1989: the second floor of the Dugan Mill (which the Museum has restored to its 1920s appearance as a meeting room, although with the addition of modern ADA-compliant restrooms), the library reading room on the third floor of Dunham Hall, and the basement of the Dugan Mill building. (Because of water seepage from Carey Hill, the basement of the Dugan Mill building is usable only as a furnace room and very rough storage.)

In the late 1990s, for financial reasons, the ownership of both buildings and the grounds were transferred to the Town of Windham.

OUR GOVERNANCE DOCUMENTS

As a federal 501(c)3 membership-based, non-profit corporation chartered in the State of Connecticut, the Windham Textile and History Museum is a public trust. By law, our financial and governance documents are open to public inspection. To make it easier for both the public and our members to find these documents, they are posted here:

OUR BYLAWS:

Article I: Name. The name of the Corporation shall be the Windham Textile and History Museum, hereinafter referred to as the Museum.

Article II: Mission. The Museum is a private, nonprofit, 501(c)3 educational institution, incorporated in 1989 in the State of Connecticut, serving the general public. Located in the historic former headquarters of the American Thread Company in Willimantic, Connecticut, the Windham Textile and History Museum houses a museum, a library, and an archive. Through its exhibits, programs, and collections, the Windham Textile and History Museum preserves and interprets the history of textiles, the textile arts, and the textile industry, with special emphasis on the experiences of the craftspeople, industrial workers, manufacturers, inventors, designers, and consumers. The Windham Textile and History Museum also promotes a greater understanding of the major trends and changes in technology, the economy, immigration, society, the environment, and culture that shaped the history of textiles, the textile arts, and the textile industry in Connecticut, New England, and the United States from the colonial period to the present.

Article III: Goals. To fulfill its mission, the Museum seeks to:

  1. Maintain the former headquarters of the American Thread Company in Willimantic, Connecticut, as a site of architectural, cultural, and historical significance.
  2. Collect, preserve, and make available to the public documents and other artifacts relating to the history of textiles, the textile industry, and the lives and experiences of the craftspeople, industrial workers, manufacturers, and others who shaped textile production and use in Connecticut, New England, and the United States from the colonial era to the present. Special emphasis will be placed on collecting and preserving records that relate to eastern Connecticut.
  3. Present exhibits and programs that interpret the worldwide impact of textiles and the textile industry on technology, the economy, immigration, society, the environment, and culture in Connecticut, New England, and the United States.
  4. Encourage and support research and scholarship about the history of textiles, the textile industry, and the lives and experiences of the craftspeople, industrial workers, manufacturers, and others – as well as the major technological, economic, social, environmental, and cultural trends – that shaped Connecticut, New England, and the United States.
  5. Offer educational programs that explore and interpret various aspects of the textile arts and the history of the industrial age and their continuing effects on American society in general, and Connecticut and New England in particular.
  6. Serve as a visitors’ center, and as a unique environment and attractive space for live entertainment, lectures, and public and private functions for the greater Windham, Connecticut, region.

Article IV: Membership. Membership in the Museum is open to all individuals and organizations, regardless of their affiliation, upon payment of annual dues. Categories of membership, dues, and fees shall be fixed by the Board of Directors. All members are entitled to attend and vote at the Annual Meeting.

Article V: Meetings of Members.

  1. Annual Meeting: An Annual Meeting of the members of the Museum shall be held for the purpose of electing officers and members of the Board of Directors. The Annual Meeting will be held at 5:30 PM on the second Thursday in October, at 411 Main Street, Willimantic, CT. Notice of the Annual Meeting shall be made through the Museum’s newsletter and web site.
  2. Special Meetings: Special meetings of the members may be called by the President. Notice of special meetings of the members shall be made via e-mail, postal mail, and/or newspaper advertisement at least fourteen (14) days prior to the meeting.

Article VI: Board of Directors.

  1. Introduction. The operation of the Museum shall be overseen by a Board of Directors elected by the general membership at the Annual Meeting. The Board of Directors is responsible to both the membership and the general public, and should attempt to operate the Museum in the best interest of the membership and the general public. The Board of Directors exercises its authority collectively, not individually, and therefore makes its decisions as a collective body. According to law, members of the Board of Directors have both a fiduciary responsibility to the Museum as a corporation and an ethical responsibility to the public to act as the guardians of a public trust.
  1. Board Members. There shall be no fewer than six (6) and no more than twenty (20) members of the Board of Directors. Any member of the Museum in good standing is eligible to serve as a member of the Board of Directors. Board members shall serve for terms of two years, and may be reelected. The Board of Directors shall have the power to fill vacancies, and to elect additional Board members, with the requirement that any Board member so elected must be ratified at the next Annual Meeting.
  1. Regular Meetings. The Board of Directors shall hold its regular meetings on the second Thursday of each month, at a time and place to be determined by the Board. Notice of regular meetings shall be made via e-mail, postal mail, telephone, and/or personal communication at least five (5) days prior to the meeting. Any Board member who misses four consecutive regular meetings shall be deemed to have resigned from the Board, but may nevertheless be reinstated by a majority vote of the Board.
  1. Special Meetings. Special meetings of the Board of Directors may be called by the President. Notice of special meetings shall be made via e-mail, postal mail, telephone, and/or personal communication at least five (5) days prior to the meeting.
  1. Emergency votes. The President may call for votes on emergencies via e-mail and/or telephone.
  1. Quorum. Seven (7) members of the Board, or one half of the current Board members, whichever is fewer, shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of conducting business.
  1. Rules of Order. Meetings of the Board of Directors shall be conducted using Roberts’ Rules of Order.
  2. Responsibilities. The Board of Directors has the following responsibilities:
  • With the advice of the Executive Director, the Board of Directors determines the Museum’s goals and objectives.
  • With the advice of the Executive Director, the Board of Directors approves and amends the Museum’s major policies and procedures.
  • With the advice of the Executive Director, the Board of Directors approves and amends the Museum’s annual operating budget.
  • The Board of Directors determines the job description of the Executive Director, as well as hires, evaluates, and dismisses the Executive Director.
  • The Board of Directors assists the Executive Director with recruiting new members and volunteers, writing grants, planning and executing special events, and other fundraising activities. With the advice of the Executive Director, the Board of Directors approves major grant proposals, accepts major grants, and approves major fundraising events.
  • The Board of Directors provides assistance and advice as needed to the Executive Director, and to the committees and committee chairs.

Article VII: Officers.

  1. President. The President shall preside at all meetings of the membership, the Board of Directors, and the Fundraising Committee. The President shall appoint all committee chairs. The President, along with the Executive Director, shall be a public spokesperson for the Museum. The President shall also perform all the usual functions of a President of a 501(c)3 non-profit educational institution, including all the functions required by the laws of the United States and the State of Connecticut.  The President serves for a term of two years, and may be reelected.
  1. Vice President. In the absence or resignation of the President, or the President’s inability or refusal to carry out her or his duties, the Vice President shall assume the duties of the President. In the absence or resignation of the Secretary, or the Secretary’s inability or refusal to carry out her or his duties, the Vice President shall assume the duties of the Secretary. In the absence or resignation of the Treasurer, or the Treasurer’s inability or refusal to carry out her or his duties, the Vice President shall assume the duties of the Treasurer. The Vice President shall also chair one of the Board’s standing committees. The Vice President serves for a term of two years, and may be reelected.
  1. Secretary. The Secretary shall record the minutes of all the meetings of members of the Museum and of the Board of Directors. The Secretary shall also perform all the usual functions of a Secretary of a 501(c)3 non-profit educational institution, including all the functions required by the laws of the United States and the State of Connecticut. In the absence or resignation of both the President and the Vice President, or the President and Vice President’s inability or refusal to carry out the duties of the President, the Secretary shall assume the duties of the President. The Secretary serves for a term of two years, and may be reelected.
  1. Treasurer. The Treasurer, with the assistance of the Executive Director, shall keep an accurate record of all monies received and disbursed by the Museum, such records to be kept on file at 411 Main Street, Willimantic, CT. The Treasurer shall oversee the deposit of all monies received in one or more banks, savings and loan institutions, and/or credit unions located in the State of Connecticut, to the credit of the Museum. The Treasurer shall oversee investments in such assets as are approved by the Board of Directors. All such investments shall be in the name of the Museum. The Treasurer shall oversee the use of the Museum’s available funds to pay all of its just bills, and make sure that such expenditures comply with the Museum’s annual operating budget as approved by the Board of Directors. The Treasurer shall provide periodic reports on the Museum’s finances to the Board of Directors. The Treasurer shall also perform all the usual functions of a Treasurer of a 501(c)3 non-profit educational institution, including all the functions required by the laws of the United States and the State of Connecticut. The Treasurer serves a term of two years, and may be reelected.
  1. Replacements. Any officer unable to complete his/her term of service may be replaced by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.
  1. Board Membership. All of the officers shall be ex officio members of the Board of Directors, with all the powers, duties, and responsibilities of Board members.

Article VIII: Election of Officers and Board Members.

Any member of the Windham Textile and History Museum may, at the Museum’s Annual Meeting, nominate candidates for President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, or Board of Directors. If more than one candidate is nominated for any office; or if more candidates are nominated for the Board of Directors than there are open seats; or if any member requests it, then voting for that position shall be by secret ballot; otherwise, voting may be by acclamation. New Board members and officers shall begin their terms of office immediately following the Annual Meeting.

Article IX: Adjunct Boards.

  1. Advisory Board. In addition to the Board of Directors, the Board of Directors may, at its discretion, create an Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is made up of individuals who are committed to the Museum’s mission, lend their names in support of the Museum, and participate in the Museum’s activities in an advisory capacity, advising the Board of Directors, Board committees, and/or staff in their specific areas of expertise. Advisory Board members are not members of the Board of Directors, are not required to attend meetings of the Board of Directors or its committees, may not vote at Board of Directors meetings, do not count towards a quorum of the Board of Directors, and do not have a fiduciary responsibility for the Museum. Advisory Board members are elected by the Board of Directors, hold a three-year term, and may be reelected indefinitely. The Advisory Board is an optional board and there is no limit on the number of Advisory Board members.

Article X: Management of the Museum, Library, Archives, Gift Shop, and Visitor Center.

The Board of Directors shall appoint an Executive Director, who will manage the operation of the Museum’s museum, library, archives, gift shop, and visitor center, according to policies established by the Board. The Executive Director will have the authority to employ and dismiss personnel (paid staff or volunteers) and/or independent contractors in accordance with policies and budgets approved by the Board. The Executive Director will attend meetings of the Board of Directors and report to the Board on the conditions and activities of the museum, library, archives, gift shop, and visitor center; call to the Board’s attention matters requiring action or notice; and make appropriate and necessary recommendations for Board action. With the Treasurer and Finance Committee, the Executive Director will draft the Museum’s annual operating budget for the Board’s consideration and approval. The Board of Directors approves and amends the Executive Director’s job description, and evaluates the Executive Director periodically, in accordance with such policies and procedures as the Board may adopt.

Article XI: Board Committees.

  1. Standing committees. The Board of Directors has several standing committees: the Executive Committee; the Fundraising Committee; the Finance Committee; the Curatorial, Exhibits, and Education Committee; and the Membership Committee. Each Board member shall serve on at least one standing committee.
  • Executive Committee. The Executive Committee acts on behalf of the Board of Directors between Board meetings. The Executive Committee consists of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and immediate past President. The President shall chair the Executive Committee.
  • Finance Committee. The Finance Committee drafts the museum’s annual budget for consideration by the Board of Directors, oversees the museum’s finances, and establishes the museum’s financial policies, in accordance with policies and procedures established by the Board of Directors. The Treasurer chairs the Finance Committee.
  • Fundraising Committee. The Fundraising Committee oversees the annual Snow Ball and other major Board-sponsored fundraising events, in accordance with policies and procedures approved by the Board of Directors. The President appoints the chair of the Fundraising Committee.
  • Curatorial, Exhibits, and Education Committee. The Curatorial, Exhibits, and Education Committee oversees the museum’s historical collections, structures, library, and archives, in accordance with policies and procedures approved by the Board of Directors. It also oversees the museum’s major permanent exhibits, major temporary exhibits, and major educational programs and initiatives, in accordance with policies and procedures approved by the Board of Directors. The President appoints the chair of the Curatorial, Exhibits, and Education Committee.
  • Membership Committee. The Membership Committee recruits new members, in accordance with policies and procedures approved by the Board of Directors. The President appoints the chair of the Membership Committee.
  1. Ad hoc committees. The Board of Directors may create ad hoc committees as needed. The President appoints the chairs of ad hoc committees. [Note: Ad hoc committees have, at various times, included a Public Relations Committee, a Paint-the-Museum Committee, a Snow Ball Committee, an Endowments Committee, and a Volunteers Committee, among others.]
  1. Membership of committees. Any member of the Corporation may serve on any Board committee. The chair of each committee shall be appointed by the President, and shall be a member of the Board. The Executive Director shall be an ex officio member, without vote, on all Board committees.
  1. Subcommittees. Any Board committee may appoint subcommittees as needed.

Article XII: Financial Matters.

  1. Fiscal year. The Board of Directors shall designate the Museum’s fiscal year.
  1. Financial Records. The books of account of the Museum shall be audited from time to time, as required.
  1. Bond. The Board of Directors may, from time to time, require that the Executive Director and /or other employees be bonded in amounts, for the purposes, and with the corporate sureties acceptable to the Board.

Article XIII: Records.

The Museum’s business, curatorial, and financial records shall be housed at 411 Main Street, Willimantic, Connecticut. Duplicate copies (either for security or as working copies) may be made and placed in other locations, as the Board of Directors and/or Executive Director deem appropriate.

Article XIV: Amendments

These bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors. Proposed amendments must be submitted to the Secretary to be sent out with regular Board announcements.

Article XV: Dissolution

Should the Museum at any time permanently cease to function as a museum, any realty or personalty it owns, with the exception of historic artifacts, shall remain in place and be turned over to the Town of Windham, Connecticut, to be used at its discretion. Should there be outstanding debts against the Museum, sufficient of said personalty, with the exception of historic artifacts, may be sold to satisfy creditors. Any historic artifacts that are the permanent property of the Museum shall be transferred to another museum or educational institution within the area, unless the Museum shall have entered into an agreement with the donor of said artifacts to return them to the donor in the event that the Museum permanently ceases to function as a museum. Historic artifacts on loan to the Museum must be returned to the lenders. After the Museum permanently abandons the operation of the museum, any endowment funds shall revert in full to the Town of Windham, to be used for educational purposes, subject to applicable state laws.

OUR COLLECTIONS POLICY

I: Accessioning.

  1. The offer of artifacts to the Museum, and the acceptance of those artifacts by the Museum, whether as acquisitions (items owned by the Museum as part of its permanent collection) or loans (items temporarily in the custody of the Museum, to be returned later to the lenders), is known as accessioning. Artifacts are items of historical significance or interest, and include letters, diaries, ledgers and account books, ephemera, other documents, photographs, maps, engineering and architectural diagrams, blueprints, books and other printed material, clothing and other fabrics, tools, machines, furniture, and other items.
  2. The Executive Director, or someone designated by the Executive Director, has the authority to accept or refuse artifacts offered to the Museum. Artifacts shall be accepted or refused based on their appropriateness, size, condition, and redundancy to the Museum’s collection.
  3. The Museum collects artifacts that depict or represent: (a) the lives and experiences of workers, manufacturers, craftspeople, consumers and other people involved in the textile industry and textile arts in Connecticut; (b) the cultures of the ethnic groups involved in the textile industry and textile arts in Connecticut; (c) preindustrial and industrial textile equipment, tools, and implements.
  4. When the Museum first accepts a donation or loan, a representative should complete an Accession Sheet and give a copy to the donor or lender. All artifacts that are donated or lent together should be kept together throughout accessioning.
  5. Acquisitions should be placed in the Museum’s Processing Room for processing, along with the Accession Sheets. At that point, they are assigned temporary Accession Numbers.
  6. Loans should be placed in the custody of the Executive Director, along with the Accession Sheets.
  7. The Museum does not accept long-term or open-ended loans. The Museum only accepts loans for limited and specific periods of time, either for particular exhibits or to be reproduced.
  8. The Museum takes reasonable precautions to protect artifacts accepted on loan, including keeping or exhibiting the artifacts in secure and fire-protected areas.
  9. If the Museum is unsuccessful, after using its best efforts for twelve (12) months, in returning borrowed artifacts to the lender, the ownership of such items shall pass to the Museum, to be treated as if the artifacts had been donated to the Museum as acquisitions.

II: Processing

  1. The sorting, cataloging, preserving, storing, and displaying of artifacts in the Museum’s collection is known as processing. The Executive Director, or someone designated by the Executive Director, oversees processing, with the advice and assistance of the Museum’s Curatorial Committee.
  2. Each artifact is assigned to a particular Collection. Artifacts of unknown origin are usually placed in the General Collection.
  3. Each artifact is individually cataloged on a Catalog Card in the Card Catalog in the Museum’s Dunham Hall Library. Catalog Cards record: (a) the name of the Collection into which the artifact has been placed; (b) a description of the artifact; (c) the artifact’s permanent Accession Number; (d) the artifact’s location within the Museum; and (e) other information deemed appropriate by the Museum’s archival staff.
  4. The Museum’s archival staff takes reasonable care to preserve artifacts from deterioration.
  5. Normally, the Museum does not attempt to conserve artifacts (i.e., restore them to their original condition).
  6. It is vitally important that artifacts not be lost or damaged. Therefore, after each artifact has been sorted, cataloged, and preserved, it is placed in the archives (or on display) in a secure location, which is recorded on the artifact’s Catalog Card, so that it can be found and retrieved whenever needed. Whenever an artifact is moved, its new location should be noted on the Catalog Card.
  7. After an artifact has been processed, the original Accession Sheet should be amended to note the artifact’s Collection, permanent Accession Number, and location within the Museum. The Accession Sheet should then be placed in the Accessions file in the Museum’s Dunham Hall Library.

III: Found Items. Artifacts in the possession of the Museum, but for which no documentation can be found, are deemed found items that, absent any evidence to the contrary, are considered the property of the Museum.

IV: Deaccessioning

  1. It is considered good museum practice to periodically cull unwanted items, in order to create space for new artifacts, remove items that should not have been collected in the first place, or transfer artifacts to other, more proper museums. Removing artifacts from the collection is known as deaccessioning.
  2. The Executive Director, or someone designated by the Executive Director, shall have the authority to deaccession artifacts from the Museum’s Collection, with advice from the Museum’s Curatorial Committee.
  3. All deaccessions will be recorded in the Museum’s Deaccessions Book. When possible, deaccessions will also be recorded on the items’ Catalog Cards and Accession Sheets. The information recorded in the Deaccessions Book will include: a description of the item being deaccessioned, the item’s Accession Number (if available), the date of deaccession, and the disposition of the item (i.e., where it went).
  4. The Museum will deaccession found items that have significant financial value only very carefully and with the approval of the Board of Directors.
  5. The Museum will place deaccessioned items with other history museums whenever practical.
  6. “In the event of dissolution, all the remaining assets of the corporation shall after payment of necessary expenses thereof be distributed to such organizations as shall qualify under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, or, to another organization to be used in such a manner as in the judgment of a Justice of the State of Connecticut will best accomplish the general purposes for which this corporation was formed.”   

 

OUR RENTAL POLICY FOR DUGAN HALL

The Windham Textile & History Museum makes Dugan Hall (the restored meeting/program room and restrooms on the second floor of the Dugan building) available for community groups, other groups, businesses, and individuals to use, under the following conditions:

1. Because we use Dugan Hall for our own programs, events, exhibits, and activities, the Museum is not always able to guarantee that the space will be available, so availability is on a case-by-case basis. The Museum makes the space available only when doing so does not interfere with our own programs, events, exhibits, or other activities, and when Museum staff and/or volunteers are able to be present.

2. Because we need to have staff and/or volunteers present, and have expenses such as utilities and upkeep, the Museum charges a basic fee of $300.00 per use. Because it is not easy for our staff and/or volunteers to be present at odd hours, the Museum may add additional charges if the use lasts more than six hours and/or requires the presence of more than one Museum staff member or volunteer. Any such extra charges will be negotiated in advance of the actual use.

3. The Museum considers itself part of the greater Willimantic community and frequently partners with other local non-profit organizations on community-related projects. Therefore, if the user is a non-profit community group with which the Museum regularly partners and with which the Museum has a good working relationship, and if the responsible persons in the group are also “key people” at the Museum who are willing and able to supervise the set-up and break-down of the space themselves without the need for other Museum staff or volunteers to be present, the Museum will charge a basic fee of $50.00 per use.

4. Because the Museum has to assign staff or volunteers to set up the space, groups or individuals using the space are expected to make a down payment of $50.00 at least one week in advance of each use. The down payment is refundable only if the Museum is responsible for the use not occurring.

5. For users other than local non-profits, there will be a refundable breakage deposit of $100.00.

6. Because it is required by the Town of Windham (our landlord) and by our insurance company, the Museum requires all users other than local non-profits to provide us with a certificate of liability insurance coverage, naming BOTH the Museum AND the Town of Windham as co-insured, at least a week in advance. If the user plans on serving alcoholic beverages, it must certify that it has liability insurance that covers all alcohol-related issues.

7. The Museum is not a licensed food provider, so users are responsible for providing their own food and drink. The Museum is glad to recommend a local caterer. No alcohol is to be sold on the premises without a proper license. No food or drink is to be provided to the public in violation of state and local laws and ordinances. The user, not the Museum, is responsible for making sure that all such laws and ordinances are obeyed.

8. The user is not to bring in, install, and use any major electrical equipment (such as air conditioners, amps, stage lighting, etc.) without the Museum’s prior permission.

9. The Museum removes snow from the walk leading to the entrance of the building, sufficient for ordinary ingress and egress. The user may remove additional snow, but at its own expense.

10. Using Dugan Hall does not entitle the user to free access to the rest of the Museum.

11. Occasionally, a group or individual wants to use the space on an ongoing basis, such as weekly, fortnightly, or monthly. The Museum will consider such requests on a case-by-case basis. Any group or individual using the space on an ongoing basis not only agrees to all of the other provisions in this policy, but also to the following:

12. Because the Museum has only very limited storage space, the user may not store its property at the Museum between uses.

13. In the event of any scheduling conflict between the Museum and the user, the Museum’s activities will take precedence. The Museum agrees to notify the user about any such conflict at least two weeks in advance. The user is not, of course, expected to pay for times when the space is not available because of a Museum activity.

14. Either party may cancel any such ongoing use agreement with two week’s notice.

15. The Museum may agree to negotiate alterations, amendments, or changes to the conditions in this policy on a case-by-case basis. However, any and all such negotiations must be approved in advance by the Museum’s Board of Directors, which meets monthly.

16. This policy does not apply to situations in which the Museum partners with another organization or other organizations, or with an individual or individuals, on any joint project or activity that utilizes Dugan Hall.

OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS’ RESPONSIBILITIES

I: Philosophy.

The Board of Directors of the Windham Textile and History Museum is a working board and a policy setting board. As the elected representatives of the Museum’s general membership, it is the Board’s responsibility to see that the Museum is managed in a way that comports with State of Connecticut and federal law, with professional standards within the museum field, and in accordance with the wishes and interests of the membership.

II: General Expectations.

  1. Know the Museum’s mission, purposes, goals, policies, programs, services, strengths, and needs.
  2. Enhance the Museum’s public standing.
  3. Ensure legal and ethical integrity and maintain accountability.
  4. Ensure effective organizational planning.
  5. Manage resources effectively.
  6. Determine, monitor, and strengthen the Museum’s programs and services.
  7. Serve on at least one Board committee.
  8. Volunteer to help with Museum programs and activities. Undertake assignments willingly when asked.
  9. Complete designated tasks in a timely manner.
  10. Bring a sense of humor to Board and committee meetings.
  11. Be responsive to fellow Board members and staff and reply to emails and phone calls promptly.
  12. Recruit and orient new Board members and assess Board performance.

III: Governance Responsibilities.

  1. Review mission, vision, bylaws, job descriptions, goals, other policies, and programs regularly and consider revisions as needed.
  2. Appoint new Board members and officers between annual meetings, in accordance with the bylaws.
  3. Consider and approve an annual Museum budget.

IV: Financial Responsibilities.

  1. Demonstrate support for the Museum by maintaining at least an individual Museum membership.
  2. Attend as many programs as possible.
  3. Make a donation to the Museum’s annual appeal (even if only a small one), supporting our standard of 100% Board participation.
  4. Take an active role in fundraising activities.
  5. Be alert and proactive to funding opportunities.

V: Fiduciary Responsibilities.

  1. Exercise prudence in the control and transfer of funds.
  2. Ensure adequate resources.
  3. Faithfully read and understand the Museum’s financial statements and otherwise help the Board fulfill its fiduciary responsibility.

VI: Meetings.

  1. Prepare, attend, and participate in Board and committee meetings as consistently as possible.
  2. Maintain confidentiality of the Board’s executive decisions; adhere to the Museum’s Confidentiality Policy.
  3. Suggest agenda items for Board and committee meetings to ensure that significant issues are addressed regularly.
  4. Ask timely and substantive questions.
  5. Support the majority decision.

VII: Relationships with Staff. 

  1. Select the Executive Director.
  2. Counsel the Executive Director as appropriate and offer support.
  3. Assess the performance of the Executive Director.
  4. Reply to emails and phone calls from staff promptly and complete requested tasks.
  5. Avoid asking for special favors of the staff.
  6. Recognize when acting as a Board member (in a role that is supervisory of the Executive Director, but not of other paid or unpaid staff) and when acting as volunteer or unpaid staff (in a role that is supervised by the Executive Director, and may be supervisory of other paid or unpaid staff).

VIII: Ethical Responsibilities. 

  1. Abide by the Museum’s Board Conflict of Interest Policy.
  2. Serve the Museum as a whole, rather than special interest groups.
  3. Maintain independence and objectivity, and do what fairness, ethics, and personal integrity dictate.
  4. Never accept or offer substantive favors or gifts from or to anyone who does business with the organization.

 

OUR CODE OF ETHICS

I: Adoption. The Board of Directors of the Windham Textile and History Museum, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational institution organized and incorporated in the State of Connecticut, endorses and adopts the following Code of Ethics for Museums of the American Association of Museums, 2012.

II: General. Museums make their unique contribution to the public by collecting, preserving and interpreting the things of this world. Historically, they have owned and used natural objects, living and nonliving, and all manner of human artifacts to advance knowledge and nourish the human spirit. Today, the range of their special interests reflects the scope of human vision. Their missions include collecting and preserving, as well as exhibiting and educating with materials not only owned but also borrowed and fabricated for these ends. Their numbers include both governmental and private museums of anthropology, art history and natural history, aquariums, arboreta, art centers, botanical gardens, children’s museums, historic sites, nature centers, planetariums, science and technology centers, and zoos. The museum universe in the United States includes both collecting and non-collecting institutions. Although diverse in their missions, they have in common their nonprofit form of organization and a commitment of service to the public. Their collections and/or the objects they borrow or fabricate are the basis for research, exhibits, and programs that invite public participation.

Taken as a whole, museum collections and exhibition materials represent the world’s natural and cultural common wealth. As stewards of that wealth, museums are compelled to advance an understanding of all natural forms and of the human experience. It is incumbent on museums to be resources for humankind and in all their activities to foster an informed appreciation of the rich and diverse world we have inherited. It is also incumbent upon them to preserve that inheritance for posterity.

Museums in the United States are grounded in the tradition of public service. They are organized as public trusts, holding their collections and information as a benefit for those they were established to serve. Members of their governing authority, employees and volunteers are committed to the interests of these beneficiaries. The law provides the basic framework for museum operations. As nonprofit institutions, museums comply with applicable local, state, and federal laws and international conventions, as well as with the specific legal standards governing trust responsibilities. This Code of Ethics for Museums takes that compliance as given. But legal standards are a minimum. Museums and those responsible for them must do more than avoid legal liability, they must take affirmative steps to maintain their integrity so as to warrant public confidence. They must act not only legally but also ethically. This Code of Ethics for Museums, therefore, outlines ethical standards that frequently exceed legal minimums.

Loyalty to the mission of the museum and to the public it serves is the essence of museum work, whether volunteer or paid. Where conflicts of interest arise—actual, potential or perceived—the duty of loyalty must never be compromised. No individual may use his or her position in a museum for personal gain or to benefit another at the expense of the museum, its mission, its reputation and the society it serves.

For museums, public service is paramount. To affirm that ethic and to elaborate its application to their governance, collections and programs, the American Association of Museums promulgates this Code of Ethics for Museums. In subscribing to this code, museums assume responsibility for the actions of members of their governing authority, employees and volunteers in the performance of museum-related duties. Museums, thereby, affirm their chartered purpose, ensure the prudent application of their resources, enhance their effectiveness and maintain public confidence. This collective endeavor strengthens museum work and the contributions of museums to society—present and future.

III: Governance. Museum governance in its various forms is a public trust responsible for the institution’s service to society. The governing authority protects and enhances the museum’s collections and programs and its physical, human and financial resources. It ensures that all these resources support the museum’s mission, respond to the pluralism of society and respect the diversity of the natural and cultural commonwealth.

Thus, the governing authority ensures that:

  • all those who work for or on behalf of a museum understand and support its mission and public trust responsibilities
  • its members understand and fulfill their trusteeship and act corporately, not as individuals
  • the museum’s collections and programs and its physical, human and financial resources are protected, maintained and developed in support of the museum’s mission
  • it is responsive to and represents the interests of society
  • it maintains the relationship with staff in which shared roles are recognized and separate responsibilities respected
  • working relationships among trustees, employees and volunteers are based on equity and mutual respect
  • professional standards and practices inform and guide museum operations
  • policies are articulated and prudent oversight is practiced
  • governance promotes the public good rather than individual financial gain.

IV: Collections. The distinctive character of museum ethics derives from the ownership, care and use of objects, specimens, and living collections representing the world’s natural and cultural common wealth. This stewardship of collections entails the highest public trust and carries with it the presumption of rightful ownership, permanence, care, documentation, accessibility and responsible disposal.

Thus, the museum ensures that:

  • collections in its custody support its mission and public trust responsibilities
  • collections in its custody are lawfully held, protected, secure, unencumbered, cared for and preserved
  • collections in its custody are accounted for and documented
  • access to the collections and related information is permitted and regulated
  • acquisition, disposal, and loan activities are conducted in a manner that respects the protection and preservation of natural and cultural resources and discourages illicit trade in such materials
  • acquisition, disposal, and loan activities conform to its mission and public trust responsibilities
  • disposal of collections through sale, trade or research activities is solely for the advancement of the museum’s mission. Proceeds from the sale of nonliving collections are to be used consistent with the established standards of the museum’s discipline, but in no event shall they be used for anything other than acquisition or direct care of collections.
  • the unique and special nature of human remains and funerary and sacred objects is recognized as the basis of all decisions concerning such collections
  • collections-related activities promote the public good rather than individual financial gain
  • competing claims of ownership that may be asserted in connection with objects in its custody should be handled openly, seriously, responsively and with respect for the dignity of all parties involved.

V: Programs. Museums serve society by advancing an understanding and appreciation of the natural and cultural commonwealth through exhibitions, research, scholarship, publications and educational activities. These programs further the museum’s mission and are responsive to the concerns, interests and needs of society.

Thus, the museum ensures that:

  • programs support its mission and public trust responsibilities
  • programs are founded on scholarship and marked by intellectual integrity
  • programs are accessible and encourage participation of the widest possible audience consistent with its mission and resources
  • programs respect pluralistic values, traditions and concerns
  • revenue-producing activities and activities that involve relationships with external entities are compatible with the museum’s mission and support its public trust responsibilities
  • programs promote the public good rather than individual financial gain.

 

OUR NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY

The Windham Textile and History Museum (“the Museum”) does not discriminate against any individual on the grounds of race, color, religious creed, sex, age, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, deafness, genetic information, marital status, mental retardation, sexual orientation, learning disability, physical disability, including but not limited to blindness, or prior conviction of a crime, unless the provisions of sections 46a-60 (b) or 46a-81(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes are controlling, or there is a bona fide occupational qualification excluding persons in one of the above protected groups. With respect to the forgoing, discrimination on the basis of sex shall include sexual harassment as defined in section 46a-68(8) of the Connecticut General Statutes.

Further, the Museum does not discriminate against any person on the grounds of political beliefs, or veteran status.

OUR PERSONNEL POLICY

I: Definitions.

  1. Museum: The Windham Textile and History Museum (“the Museum”) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax exempt, educational institution organized under the laws of the State of Connecticut and the United States of America.
  2. Employee: Unless stated otherwise, paid staff, unpaid staff (volunteers acting as staff), and interns are considered “employees” for the purposes of this policy.
  3. Contractor: Independent contractors are not considered employees under this policy.

II: Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.  

  1. The Museum is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer, dedicated to nondiscrimination in employment on any basis prohibited by law. The Museum is committed to providing equal employment and advancement opportunities without consideration of race, color, religious creed, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, veteran status, mental retardation, genetic information, disability, or other legally protected status, unless there is a bona fide occupational qualification under applicable Connecticut and/or federal statute excluding persons in one of the foregoing groups. Additionally, the Museum will take affirmative action to ensure workplace equality, avoid all forms of discrimination, and develop a workforce that is representative of all segments of the population.
  2. Affirmative Action in Hiring. The Museum will utilize affirmative measures at all stages of the employment process. With regard to recruitment and hiring, the Museum will notify recruiters, consultants, prospective candidates, and employees that “The Windham Textile and History Museum is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer” and will broadly disseminate this policy by posting it on its web site and other locations accessible to employees and potential candidates for employment. The Museum will attempt through recruitment efforts to increase the number of highly qualified female and minority applicants who apply for each vacancy, with the ultimate goal that the Museum’s workforce will mirror the diversity of the labor pool. Additionally, the Museum will attempt to reach a greater number of Hispanic, African American, Asian / Pacific Islander, and Native American potential applicants by contacting organizations and educational institutions that promote the interests of such individuals. The Museum also recognizes the hiring difficulties which are sometimes encountered by the physically disabled and older persons and will undertake measures to achieve the full and fair utilization of such persons in its work force.
  3. Equal Opportunities. The Museum is also committed to equal opportunities for all its employees with regard to all employment practices, including but not limited to compensation, benefits, training, promotions, and discipline. All personnel decisions will be based strictly upon the needs of the Museum and an employee’s job-related skills and abilities. Consistent with its commitment to equal opportunity, the Museum expects that all employees will adhere to its policy of nondiscrimination. The Museum is equally committed to ensuring nondiscrimination in all of its programs and initiatives.
  4. Employees should bring any complaints regarding discrimination or any other violation of this policy to the immediate attention of the designated Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) / Affirmative Action Officer, who is appointed by the Board of Directors. Alternatively, employees may submit discrimination complaints to their supervisors. Complaints brought under this policy will be promptly investigated. Any employee who violates this policy, or knowingly retaliates against an employee reporting or complaining of a violation of this policy, shall be subject to immediate disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.
  5. The Museum is committed to ensuring that all contractors who do business with it also provide equal opportunities in employment. The participation of minority business enterprises meeting the qualifications established by applicable regulation will be solicited and encouraged. All bidders, contractors, and suppliers will be notified regarding this policy, and all contracts for services must include a statement in which the contractor agrees to abide by affirmative action and nondiscrimination principles.
  6. Compliance and Reporting. The EEO / Affirmative Action Officer monitors compliance with this policy, including but not limited to maintaining data with regard to the hiring and promotion of women and minorities, and regularly reports on these matters to the Executive Director and the Board of Directors. In accordance with Connecticut General Statutes 1-123, the Board of Directors’ annual report to the Governor and Auditors of Public Accounts will, if required, include this affirmative action policy statement, a description of the Museum’s work force by race, sex, and occupation, and a description of its affirmative action efforts.

II: Administration. 

  1. The Board of Directors is responsible for recruiting, interviewing, hiring, supervising, evaluating, and terminating the Executive Director. The Board may appoint committees to facilitate any or all of these responsibilities, but the final decisions remain with the Board.
  2. The Executive Director is responsible for recruiting, interviewing, hiring, supervising, evaluating, and terminating all other employees and contractors. The Executive Director may elect to delegate any or all of these responsibilities, in whole or in part, to other Museum personnel, but the final responsibility rests with the Executive Director.
  3. Each employee position will be established by the Board of Directors as funding allows.
  4. There will be a job description for each employee position. One copy of this job description will be given to the employee, one copy placed in the employee’s personnel file, and one copy placed in a general file which contains job descriptions for all employees.
  5. The Museum will keep and maintain a personnel file on each employee. Personnel files will be updated as needed with performance reviews, and the employee will be informed of any updates.
  6. The Museum reserves the right to conduct background checks on all prospective employees.

III: Conditions of Employment.

  1. The standards of conduct normally required of a member of a professional team, such as courtesy, honesty, willingness to serve, and respect for confidentiality are the expected standard for every Museum employee. Violation of any of these is grounds for immediate termination.
  2. The Museum encourages staff development for employees as funding permits.
  3. Each employee will meet with her or his supervisor at least once each year to review the employee’s job performance, goals, and expectations, with the opportunity for mutual feedback. At that time, the employee’s supervisor will provide the employee with a written job performance evaluation. If the employee’s performance is rated as unsatisfactory, the employee will be placed on probation for a stated period of time, after which the employee’s job performance will be reevaluated. If, after the completion of the probationary period, the employee’s job performance remains unsatisfactory, the employee may be discharged. This section of the Personnel Policy does not apply to situations where grounds exist for immediate termination. 
  4. The Museum is a drug-free workplace. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited at the Museum’s workplace. All interior areas of the Museum are smoke-free. Violation of this policy by an employee is grounds for immediate termination.
  5. It is the Museum’s policy to maintain a work environment that is free from harassment. Sexual harassment or harassment on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, gender, creed, religion, disability, marital status, veteran status, or sexual orientation is unacceptable and is grounds for immediate termination. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
  6. submission to the conduct is made (explicitly or implicitly) a term or condition of employment, submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions, or the conduct unreasonably interferes with the employee’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
  7. The Museum’s electronic communications systems exist to facilitate and support Museum business, and belong to the Museum. The Museum reserves the right to access their content at any time. Employees are responsible to exercise good judgment and legal and ethical behavior when using electronic communications systems. Electronic communications systems include computers, e-mail, the internet, telephone, facsimile machines, modems, all forms of electronic media storage, and networks provided or made available by the Museum. Employees who violate this policy are subject to discipline, including immediate termination.
  8. Criminal activity, whether or not it takes place on Museum property, is grounds for immediate termination.
  9. Unauthorized removal or damage of the Museum’s property is grounds for immediate termination.
  10. Excessive absences or tardiness is grounds for immediate termination.
  11. Insubordination is grounds for immediate termination.

IV: Appeals.

Employees may appeal their supervisors’ employment decisions. If the employee’s supervisor is someone other than the Executive Director, the employee should first appeal to the Volunteer Coordinator (if the employee is a volunteer); then to the Executive Director (or directly to the Executive Director, if the employee is not a volunteer); and then to the Board of Directors. If the supervisor is the Executive Director, the employee shall appeal directly to the Board of Directors. The Board will hear any such appeals in executive session.

IV: Work Schedules and Compensation.

  1. Salaries, wages, benefits, hours, and working conditions are set by the Board of Directors for each position.
  2. Employees will be paid twice monthly. Hourly employees are expected to submit signed timesheets.

 

OUR VOLUNTEERS POLICY

I: Introduction.

The Windham Textile and History Museum (“the Museum”) relies heavily on the unpaid work of volunteers and values their contributions highly.

II: Purpose.

This policy is intended to ensure that volunteers working at the Museum have work that is safe, significant, fulfilling, and appreciated. It supplements the Museum’s Personnel Policy.

III: Policy.

  1. All volunteers shall be treated with respect and with gratitude for their contribution.
  2. Volunteers at the Museum fall into two categories.
  3. Board Members. Members of the Board of Directors serving in their capacity as Board members (including their work on Board committees) are volunteers, and as such are entitled to the same respect and gratitude as other volunteers.
  4. Volunteer Employees. Volunteers who are not members of the Board of Directors, or who are members of the Board but engaged in volunteer activities that are not part of their official Board duties, are deemed “employees” within the meaning of the Museum’s Personnel Policy.
  5. Volunteer employees are employed at the discretion the Executive Director.
  6. Volunteer employees carry out duties assigned by the Executive Director.
  7. All volunteers, whether volunteer employees or Board members, shall be, as far as possible, protected from harm, and shall be relieved of liability for acts performed in the discharge of their volunteer functions.

IV: Responsibilities.

  1. It is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to appoint a Volunteer Coordinator. Although the Volunteer Coordinator may be a member of the Board of Directors, when acting as Volunteer Coordinator she or he is considered an “employee” within the meaning of the Museum’s Personnel Policy and works under the supervision of and reports to the Executive Director.
  2. The Volunteer Coordinator is responsible for organizing the recruitment, training, and supervision of volunteer employees.
  3. The Volunteer Coordinator, in consultation with the Executive Director, assigns supervisors to volunteer employees and monitors the work of the supervisors.
  4. The appointed supervisors ensure that volunteer employees are trained and capable of fulfilling their functions adequately.
  5. The Volunteer Coordinator and Executive Director report regularly to the Board of Directors on the Museum’s volunteer program.

V: Procedures. 

  1. All volunteer employees are subject to the same screening, approval, and probationary procedures set out in the Museum’s Personnel Policy. Recruitment of volunteers shall also take into account the Museum’s commitment to cultural diversity under its Equal Access and Affirmative Action clause of the Museum’s Personnel Policy.
  1. All volunteer employees are offered appropriate information and training to discharge their functions, and successful completion of this training is a condition of carrying out these functions.
  1. All volunteer employees shall receive appropriate supervision in the exercise of their functions.
  1. All volunteer employees will be reimbursed for all approved expenditures incurred in the exercise of their functions.
  2. All volunteer employees are entitled to appeal to the procedures set out in the Museum’s Personnel Policy.