Tag Archives: NTEE A82

Should Local History and Historic Preservation Dominate the Museum Field?

Figure 1. Historical Societies & Historic Preservation (A82) organizations have an outsized presence in the field. Source: Internal Revenue Service and National Center for Charitable Statistics.

Of all the organizations in the United States devoted to arts, culture, and humanities, Historical Societies & Historic Preservation (NTEE A82) organizations have an outsized presence.   More than a third of all organizations “sponsor activities which celebrate, memorialize and sometimes recreate important events in history such as battles, treaties, speeches, centennials, independence days, catastrophes that had an important impact or other similar occasions.” “Historical society,” “historical association,” “heritage society,” “preservation,” and “restoration” are in the name of nearly 80 percent of institutions in this category.  They are also focused on local history—only one in twenty institutions appear to have a geographic scope larger than the county level.

While preserving and interpreting local history is their primary interest, these organizations are the smallest by revenue.  More than 90 percent operate with less than $1 million in revenue annually and have a median revenue near $64,000 (yes, the median is $64,000 annually for all A82 organizations for 2011-2017—half of these organizations operate with less than this amount).  Only Historical Organizations (A80) produce similar financials, albeit with slightly higher figures.

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