Strategic Planning

The Museum has a proposed Strategic Plan that I hope will be adopted by the Museum Committee. It’s posted below the break. First, here is the Museum’s mission:

Mission Statement: To perpetuate the arts, crafts, and way of life of New England’s Indigenous Peoples; preserve the culture and history of indigenous people, particularly that of the Nipmuc Indian; and preserve and protect the unique character of the historic structure known as the Homestead and the artifacts housed within.

And Vision Statement:

Vision Statement: To serve as a focal point and gathering place for Nipmucs and their families to learn of our culture and history and to practice integrating our traditional values, technologies and wisdom into our contemporary lives.

Hassanamisco Indian Museum – Strategic Plan

To achieve its mission, attain its vision, and align with the Nipmuc Nation long-term goals, the Museum identified as its primary goal –

Preserve and perpetuate the culture and history of the Nipmuc tribe through a solid programmatic and physical foundation.

Strategy One: Renovation of the Homestead and the Museum’s organizational structure.

The Homestead will reopen with modern facilities, climate-controlled display, exhibit, and storage areas, office space, and a gathering space for tribal classes, workshops and functions. Concurrently, the Museum will build the capacity of the Museum’s board, staff and volunteers to achieve Museum’s goals

  • Complete the planning, restoration of historic portion of building, and the renovation of the modern-day addition.
  • Reorganize and strengthen the Museum’s organizational structure.
  • Achieve fiscal sustainability through sound fiscal planning and aggressive fund-raising.

Strategy Two: Preserve and conserve the Museum’s collections.

The Museum will institute formal policies to conserve the Museum’s collection. The Nipmuc Community will develop a sense of ownership and stewardship in the Museum and its collections.

  • Conserve, inventory and catalog the Museum’s collections.
  • Store and exhibit collections appropriately.

Strategy Three: Develop, promote, and implement programming for the Nipmuc community and the public.

Through the teachings of Elders and tradition-keepers, the Museum will work with the Nipmuc tribe to ensure the transference of traditional knowledge to the next generation. The Museum will continue to improve existing school, scout, and camp programs for the public.

  • Develop Tribal-based educational programs and workshops.
  • Re-invest in the Nipmuc Homelands.
  • Strengthen relationships between Museum and Nipmuc people.
  • Expand and Improve website capabilities.
  • Design and implement a comprehensive marketing program.

What do you think?

Aquene!

***Please note that the image above is from traditional Nipmuc and/or Mohegan woodsplint baskets, Credit for the image goes to “Key into the Language of Woodsplint Baskets” by Ann McMullen, Russell G. Handsman, and Joan A. Lester. Published in 1987 by American Indian Archaeological Institute.

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Hassanamisco Reservation on the National Register of Historic Places!

On September 6, 2011, the National Register of Historic Places added the Hassanamisco Reservation to its list of national treasures. Known as Hassanamesit, the under 4 acre reservation serves as the cultural and spiritual center of the Nipmuc Nation, a state-recognized tribe in Massachusetts. Located on the reservation is the Cisco Homestead, which for two centuries served as home to Nipmuc tribal leaders and now houses the Hassanamisco Indian Museum.

Nipmucs occupied Hassanamesit since before recorded time. In the mid 1600s, missionary John Eliot established a “Praying Plantation or Town” in Hassanamesit in an effort to “Christianize” the native population. Metacom’s Rebellion (June 1675 – August 1676) brought an end to the praying town era, and in 1728, English settlers divided Hassanamesit into lots reserving some parcels for the Nipmuc families still living there.

Hassanamesit Allotments - 1728

 The current reservation is all that remains of the Moses Printer allotment. A wood frame house was built in 1801 for Moses’ great-granddaughter, Lucy Gimby. Lucy’s granddaughter, Sarah Arnold Cisco, became the Nipmuc tribal leader in the mid 1850s and the house became known as the Cisco Homestead. In 1962, it became the Hassanamisco Indian Museum although the family still occupied the addition in the back of the building. The last member of the Cisco family to occupy the Homestead was Shelleigh Wilcox who moved from the reservation in 2006.

Cisco Homestead

Dr. D. Rae Gould, the Nipmuc Nation’s Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO), led the effort to place the reservation on the list. “This good news will increase funding opportunities for our efforts to raise approximately $300,000 for the preservation of the Homestead.” The reservation is designated as a Traditional Cultural Property “associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our (Nation’s) history.” Funding to aid in the nomination process was provided by Preservation Massachusetts.

Hassanamesit has meaning for all Nipmucs as it is the only land in Massachusetts that has never been occupied by non-Natives. And the Homestead is the oldest structure in southern New England to be continuously occupied by Native people. Natick Nipmuc Sachem, Mary Anne Hendricks commented “The Hassanamisco Reservation is not only a sacred place to Nipmuks but has been finally recognized as a place in history for all to appreciate.”

Thanks to all who assisted and supported this journey, in particular Chief Natachaman of the Nipmuc Nation and the Hassanamisco Band of Nipmuc Indians.

Many thanks and an abundance of gratitude to our ancestors who kept this land intact for our generations and those to come.

Cisco Homestead Restoration is Underway!

By – D. Rae Gould, Ph.D, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Nipmuc Nation

This fall the restoration of the Cisco Homestead on the Hassanamisco Reservation in Grafton began. This work has been made possible through a generous Community Preservation grant through the Town of Grafton CPC (Community Preservation Commission) and state Community Preservation Act funds.

The current work is a first-phase stabilization of the building that included installation of a new roof and gutters, stabilizing interior floor components, securing the building from entry by animals, replacing a bulkhead, and re-grading of land around the building to improve drainage. The most visible and perhaps significant transition to the Homestead has been the removal of the front porch, which returns the building to its c. 1900 appearance. The stabilization phase was completed in early November.

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ABOVE: The Cisco Homestead as it appeared around the end of the 19th century (or c. 1900), and

BELOW: The Homestead as it appears today undergoing restoration to its appearance during this time period. Photo credit: Margaret Haynes.

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In addition, this fall a completed nomination to have the Hassanamisco Reservation and Cisco Homestead placed on the National Register of Historic Places is being submitted to the Massachusetts Historical Commission (for final submission to the National Register). The completion of the nomination was made possible through grant funding provided by Preservation Massachusetts (http://preservationmass.org/).

In 2009, the Cisco Homestead was added to the list of Massachusetts’ Most Endangered Historic Resources, along with seven other sites, in an effort to increase awareness about the need to preserve and restore this important historic and cultural resource. The completion of the National Register nomination and the placement of this property on the State’s Register of Historic Places will enable the tribe to apply for other state and private funding to move forward with the more extensive restoration of the building. Overall the restoration is estimated to cost around $300,000. With the complete restoration of the homestead, the museum building will again be open for tours, indoor education programs, tribal functions, and will also house the tribal archive and museum collections, which are now in storage.

Anyone interested in assisting with the restoration activities or helping to raise funds through grant writing or contributions is welcome to contact Rae Gould at rgould@snet.net.