A Publication of WTVP

…because it takes a community.

“I am sure it is not worth donating. I cannot donate enough to help. I don’t have any skills that can make a difference. My membership doesn’t matter. They have enough staff/volunteers…”

What do all these statements have in common? They are all myths! Like other not-for-profits, the Peoria Historical Society (PHS) depends on you, the public, to meet its mission and goals. Micro-giving, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding are all new takes on an old truth: that individuals doing whatever they can, at whatever level they can, can collectively accomplish great things.

PHS is dedicated to preserving the material culture and stories of the Peoria area and its people, businesses and organizations, and we are determined to embrace new technologies and new ideas in order to meet this responsibility and share these materials for the public good. While PHS preserves history, it is not stuck in the past! Dedicated members, supporters, volunteers and staff are making a difference every day. Are you interested in what PHS would like to accomplish and more importantly, how you can help make it happen? Then let us take a look…

Volunteers & Donations
Incorporated in 1934, our society has operated as many historical societies do: through memberships, donations and volunteers. One common misperception is that tax dollars support the society, but this is not the case; PHS does not receive local, state or federal funding to sustain its existence. Funding for the preservation of its collection and the Flanagan and Pettengill-Morron houses, as well as daily operations and special programs, all come from memberships, monetary donations, corporate matching, sponsorships, bequests and fees for programs.

The need is far greater than the resources, and the society must always be looking for grant opportunities as well. Grants, depending on the source, are an opportunity for some public funding; however, they have become more and more competitive. Applying for them is a project in and of itself, and only a small percentage of applications end up being successful.

Volunteers who donate their time and expertise allow PHS to stretch limited funds to create the maximum effect, and in-kind donations of materials and services from organizations and businesses are often integral to the success of a project. A single funding source, volunteer or donation of any kind quickly adds to the resources and momentum of a project. As progress is made, the people and participating organizations naturally spread the word on projects they are involved in; then their friends, coworkers and other organizations get involved as well.

The Peoria Historical Society has always had dedicated volunteers. They serve as guides at the Judge John C. Flanagan and Pettengill-Morron houses and on our trolley tours, as well as step-on guides for larger groups with their own transportation. Volunteers plan, organize, set up, staff and clean up after special events, such as our annual and quarterly meetings, the De Tonti celebration, style show, Spirit of Peoria cruise, book group, Fourth of July, candlelight/holiday house tours, and Rennick art show, just to name a few.

Yard work, cleaning, painting, repair, clean-up, sewing, photographing, cataloging, scanning, transcribing, writing, newsletter editing and layout, graphic design andartwork, playing music, acting, guiding, coat check, modeling, moving, carpentry, tuck pointing, roofing, electrical work, gardening and house decorating are among the many ways volunteers help. In-kind donations of high-density shelving (Bradfield’s Computer Supply), warehouse racks (Gemini and Champion), computers and scanners, camera equipment, copy stands (Bradley University), digital projectors (Epson), food and beverages for events, rental fees, paint (Home Depot), advertising, yard services, items for sale or raffle, and meeting and training space (AMT and ROOM) are additional ways people, businesses and other organizations have contributed to the PHS mission.

Programs & Activities
Monetary grants from Caterpillar Inc., the Community Foundation of Central Illinois and the Illinois Humanities Council have helped fund our revamped website and digitization projects, as well as much-needed repairs to the society’s house museums. Some of the most recent accomplishments made possible by the community’s generosity include:

There is an unbelievable amount of activity ongoing, and much, much more to be done. It is not possible to list every person or organization that has helped, but every contribution, in whatever form, is deeply appreciated. Everything the society does—and would like to do—depends on volunteers and donations of time, effort, material, and of course, money. Volunteers range from small children to senior citizens. Donations have been as small as the change in someone’s pocket. Micro-giving can add up quickly, particularly if it is done with technology. Anyone can go to our website and leave a donation. Anyone can sell items on eBay and donate a percentage of the proceeds to PHS. The opportunities for giving and volunteering are numerous, and everyone can contribute in some way. iBi