Minnesota History: Building A Legacy

Legacy Strategic Agenda

LEGACY STRATEGIC AGENDA 2016-2020

The investment of the legacy funds will bolster Minnesota’s reputation as a center for creativity, innovation and imagination, contributing to the long-term vitality of our state. Source: 25-Year Framework for Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Legacy Activity to Date
In November 2008, Minnesota voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to preserve and enhance some of the most important elements of our state. This amendment to the Minnesota Constitution, often referred to as the “Legacy Amendment,” created four funds, one of which is the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF).

The Legacy Amendment mandates that a portion of the ACHF be used “to preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage” (Minnesota Constitution, Article XI, Sec. 15). Over the initial five years of history and cultural heritage funding, innovative and far-reaching legacy initiatives have:

  • Preserved our state’s valuable historic and cultural resources for future generations.
  • Shared our state’s stories and treasured historic resources with ever-growing audiences including students, teachers, scholars, researchers, genealogists and the general public.
  • Connected Minnesotans of all ages to each other and to history—history that is becoming more accessible than ever before.

The Minnesota history community has collectively reached individuals and families across the state with legacy work that preserves our past, shares Minnesota’s stories and forges vital connections between the past and the future.

Bridging to the Future
The 2016-2020 Legacy Strategic Agenda builds on achievements realized during the first five years of legacy funding. Setting the stage for meaningful and measurable change by focusing on what is truly important to long-term legacy success, the Legacy Strategic Agenda is a guideline for future legacy growth and does not try to be all things to all people. The Agenda is a “strategic” document deeply rooted in the belief that by reaching out and listening to all Minnesotans’ stories, we invest in and enrich communities across the state.

The Legacy Strategic Agenda’s vision inspires robust relationships and vibrant local and statewide collaborations: We are all deeply connected to each other when we are engaged in, enriched by and excited about Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage.

To advance the vision, the Legacy Strategic Agenda includes four key goals:

  1. Equip members of Minnesota’s history community with tools to meet individual and collective aspirations for long-term success and sustainability.
  2. Empower Minnesota’s history community to create and provide opportunities that develop all Minnesotans’ critical thinking skills through the exploration and practice of history.
  3. Enhance existing relationships and develop new partnerships that connect people to the vast and rich historic resources that tell Minnesota’s history.
  4. Amplify unfamiliar narratives, both past and present, through direct service, programs, and strategic partnerships.

The Legacy Strategic Agenda was created with history community input and guided by an assessment of strengths, opportunities, aspirations and results. The Agenda complements the 10 Year Plan and 25 Year Framework for the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. As a dynamic strategic plan, the Agenda can be modified with new information and/or sudden changes within communities or in the history environment.

Individuals, organizations, and partnerships that collect, preserve, and share Minnesota’s history are invited to use the Legacy Strategic Agenda to inform or complement their work and to choose what is most important to accomplish. Applicable to everyone, regardless of the scope or size of an organization, the Agenda contains high-level goals and strategies and is neither a tactical plan nor a to-do list. Those working on specific Legacy Strategic Agenda strategies are encouraged to create appropriate action steps and performance measures for their partnerships, organizations and/or communities.

The LSA Collaborative, with members representing a variety of disciplines working with local and state history, drafted the Agenda, shared it for public comment and will implement legacy priorities that will be measurable, monitored and sustained. Over time, the Collaborative will communicate with the stakeholders to share legacy innovations, identify course corrections and foster sustainability. Legacy Strategic Agenda successes will continue to be reported in the Legacy Annual Report to the Governor and Legislature.

Thank you for your commitment to preserve and share our state’s rich heritage through history programs, partnerships, and grants that reach all Minnesotans.

LEGACY VISION, GOALS AND STRATEGIES

LEGACY VISION

We are all deeply connected to each other when we are engaged in, enriched by and excited about Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage.

FIVE-YEAR GOALS & STRATEGIES

Goal 1: Equip members of Minnesota’s history community with tools to meet individual and collective aspirations for long-term success and sustainability.

Rationale: By strengthening and developing the capabilities of individuals, organizations and partnerships to collect, preserve, and share Minnesota’s history, Minnesota’s history community and historic resources will continue to thrive long after the Legacy Amendment expires. All Minnesotans will benefit from enduring historic resources and a strong history community.

Strategies:

A. Assess the needs and aspirations of the statewide history community and their partnerships and provide relevant training and support.

B. Work with the history community to enhance the infrastructure for Legacy grant programs to ensure continued overall transparency, operational excellence, and enduring value.

C. Build statewide capacity for digital preservation and access that addresses the needs and aspirations of history partners.

D. Explore new funding models that spur local innovation and complement legacy-funded grants.

E. Facilitate long-range planning for Minnesota history and historic resources.

Goal 2: Empower Minnesota’s history community to create and provide opportunities that develop all Minnesotans’ critical thinking skills through the exploration and practice of history.

Rationale: The capacity of citizens to think critically and participate effectively in civic life is an essential element of a healthy civil society. Public institutions have a responsibility to the state’s citizens for the development of these skills throughout their lifetime. Our content area, history, provides a particularly strong platform from which to do this. We will create educational activities that engage the public and professionals in developing their critical thinking skills and contributions to society.

Strategies:

A. Partner with Minnesota’s libraries, schools, educators, parents, and professional associations, as well education, social services and other cultural organizations, to assist with meeting curriculum standards, address barriers to student success, encourage place-based learning for all Minnesotans, and provide professional development.

B. Create innovative program content and delivery systems with/and for diverse audiences that respond to changing audience needs and support the development and growth of 21st century skills.

C. Provide lifelong learning opportunities for groups and individuals through partnerships with cultural organizations, schools, libraries, professional licensing organizations, and others.

Goal 3: Enhance existing relationships and develop new partnerships that connect people to the vast and rich historic resources that tell Minnesota’s history.

Rationale: Strong relationships with communities, organizations, and individuals across the state will expand local connections to Minnesota history, demonstrate the value of history in everyone’s lives, and allow us to better understand one another.

Combining assets, even seemingly unrelated ones, has the power to create new markets and opportunities. Working with partners outside the realm of cultural heritage creates new options for vital and enduring historic and cultural resources.

Strategies:

A. Define values, expectations, structure, standards and accountability for history partnerships.

B. Plan for collective action with the people we serve, utilizing clearly defined roles.

C. Explore service hubs as a mechanism to apply best practices and engage underserved audiences in strategic initiatives.

D. Streamline access to and preservation of Minnesota history by developing collaborative tools that increase community engagement.

E. Identify, prioritize and promote new audiences and revenue sources for history partners.

Goal 4: Amplify unfamiliar narratives, both past and present, through direct service, programs, and strategic partnerships.

Rationale: Dominant historical narratives have not always included every significant story. By working together to tell every Minnesotan’s story and by encouraging Minnesotans to listen to those stories, we will learn more about each other, ourselves, and the history of our community, state, nation, and the world. By discovering how our personal histories fit within an inclusive narrative, we will better relate to each other and improve the quality of life for all Minnesotans.

Strategies:

A. Promote collecting, preserving, and sharing Minnesota’s underrepresented history.

B. Intentionally extend and coordinate services and programs to be readily accessible and visible to all Minnesotans.

C. Develop skills for working in partnership with traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities.

D. Develop the capacity of communities to collect, preserve, and share their stories.

E. Embrace difficult history by connecting Minnesota history to national and global issues.

Appendix #1

RESPONSE TO LSA PUBLIC COMMENT

The Legacy Strategic Agenda was released for public comment from June 12-July 31, 2015. Some key questions that emerged in the public comment process are addressed below.

Who are the Audiences for the LSA?
The Legacy Strategic Agenda is deeply rooted in the belief that we invest in and enrich communities across the state by reaching out and listening to all Minnesotans stories. The document is a resource for multiple audiences, including:

  • Statewide history-related organizations and partnerships
  • Individuals who would like to understand what is happening in Legacy work and may want to get involved
  • Communities that engage around local history initiatives
  • Other sectors in the community that value and use history in their work, e.g., libraries, education, and others

How do Legacy Grants Fit Within the LSA?
The four goals in the 2016-2020 Legacy Strategic Agenda (LSA) provide strategic direction for legacy work done by individuals, organizations, and partnerships that collect, preserve, and share Minnesota’s history. The LSA audience is the broad history community, not solely organizations who receive legacy funds, or who are considering applying for legacy-funded grants.

Specifically within the LSA, the Legacy grant function appears in strategy B under Goal ONE. The strategy currently reads: Work with the history community to enhance the infrastructure for Legacy grant programs to ensure continued overall transparency, operational excellence, and enduring value.

The public comment revealed a perception that the LSA will immediately drive which Minnesota Historical and Cultural History grants would be recommended for funding by the Historic Resources Advisory Committee (HRAC). The degree to which the LSA will influence grant writing and/or awarding decisions by HRAC has not been decided. Once the LSA has been finalized, the HRAC will discuss if and how the LSA could: (1) be included as a resource in grant writing and (2) factor into grant review criteria for the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant program. Any changes made to review criteria for any Legacy grant programs will be announced as part of future grant rounds.

A public comment noted that the LSA does not “solve actual problems linked to the grants process.” The LSA is a strategic agenda. The Minnesota history community, including the MNHS Grants Office, is invited to make the LSA their own by linking specific action steps to selected strategies. As stated above, the grants process is part of the LSA with action steps being created that focus on operational enhancements to grant making processes and outcomes. The intent is that action steps will lead to changes that resolve concerns about the granting process.

We appreciate the opportunity to clarify how legacy grants fit within the overall Legacy Strategic Agenda.

How Will the LSA Collaborative Move the Legacy Strategic Agenda to Action?
Individuals, organizations, and partnerships that collect, preserve, and share Minnesota’s history are invited to use the Legacy Strategic Agenda to inform or complement their work and to choose what is most important to accomplish. Those working on specific Legacy Strategic Agenda strategies are encouraged to create appropriate action steps and performance measures for their partnerships, organizations and/or communities.

In addition to local organizations using the LSA to help guide their work, the LSA Collaborative identified a priority strategy under each of the four goals. Priority action teams will create and act on steps to advance a strategy. In order to create enthusiasm and buy-in to the LSA, action teams will be solicited through a Call for Action Teams’ process that will be posted through multiple channels with the goal of members from across the History Community coming together to further the goals of the LSA.

If you’d like to join an action team or learn more about the LSA, see the Legacy Strategic Agenda Overview.

Appendix #2

LSA DEFINITIONS

Capacity
The knowledge, skills and tools required to support some function or endeavor.

Community
At its most basic level, a community is a group with members who share something in common [the word comes from the Latin communis or common]. Communities can be formed by voluntary association (interest in particular topic, problems, outcomes) or by inherent characteristics (location, race, ethnicity, age, occupation). How an individual perceives a community may be different depending on his/her point of view and his/her level of engagement within that community.

Community Engagement
The process of working collaboratively with groups of people who share something in common. Community engagement aims to build a lasting relationship with and within a community in order to better achieve a shared vision.

Digital Preservation & Access
Whether collection materials are digitized from analog originals or are born digital, to be useful to Minnesotans, now and in the future, they must be both accessible and preserved. Access means that people can discover and then acquire or use the digital materials. Preservation means that the digital materials are perpetually managed in a sustainable way so that they continue to be accessible to future generations.

Historic Resources
Historic resources are tangible or intangible evidence of our past. This includes, but is not limited to, archaeological sites, buildings, landscapes, archives, oral histories, collections, objects, and ethnographic resources (languages, stories, activities, etc.)

History Community
Individuals, organizations, and partnerships that collect, preserve, and share Minnesota’s history.

Lifelong Learning
The provision or use of both formal and informal learning opportunities throughout people’s lives in order to foster the continuous development and improvement of the knowledge and skills needed for employment and personal fulfillment.

Partnership
A partnership is defined as a relationship between individuals or groups that is characterized by mutual cooperation and responsibility, as for the achievement of a collective goal. Partnerships have several distinguishing characteristics:

  • Partnership contributions may take different forms, including financial support, contributed time and labor, professional or technical expertise, access to facilities or equipment, use of intellectual property, or access to other tools or individuals.
  • In a partnership, all partners contribute in some tangible way to the accomplishment of the project, with one of the partners functioning as a central or managing player with the largest role in managing the project.
  • The contributions and obligations of each party in a partnership are typically codified in some form of a formal, written document such as an agreement, memorandum of understanding or contract. The document will state the project objectives, partners’ roles and expectations, and measurable outcomes.

Service Hub
A service hub is either a physical location, a virtual presence, or both, where members of the history community can gather or communicate to share expertise, best practices or services. A physical location could be a museum, historic site, or other place where collaboration takes place on a temporary or ongoing basis. A virtual presence can be an on-line or other method of collaboration, based on a geographic framework or a specific area of expertise.

Sustainability
Sustainability is one of the ten-year plan goals for the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF) and is defined as “financial vitality of the arts, history and cultural heritage sector.” Source: A Twenty-Five Year Vision, Framework, Guiding Principles, and Ten-Year Goals for the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund).

Sustainability is sometimes referred to as “the capacity to endure.” Sustained statewide implementation of the Legacy Strategic Agenda strategies requires innovation, strong execution, meeting customer needs, and strong collaboration. To achieve this, the history community will need new ways of doing business to manage for the long-term as well as the short-term.

The Legacy Strategic Agenda goals will strive to support long-term social, economic, and environmental vitality for the history community and ensure the preservation of Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage for future generations.

21st Century Skills (definition from Institute of Library and Museum Services)
21st century skills are the skills, knowledge and expertise that individuals should master to succeed in work and life in the 21st century. They include:

• Core Subjects (3Rs and 21st Century Themes)

• Creativity and Innovation

• Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

• Communication and Collaboration

• Information Literacy

• Media Literacy

• Information and Communication Technology Literacy

• Life and Career Skills