Honorary Secretary’s Report, Annual Meeting
by Professor A. R. Kear
MHS Transactions, Series 3, Number 35, 1978-79 season
While the Society has continued many past practices-there were changes which shall be noted.
These meetings, and field trips were held:
Tonight, Pierre Berton, on some aspect of restoration and conservation of historical buildings.
Members received a monthly Newsletter. The executive is considering improving its appearance and quality of paper for a better format which may include photographs, etc. Editing of the Transactions is being wound up pending the appearance of a new history journal to be edited by Dr. Jean Friesen and a Board of Editors. The Centennial Celebration Committee, in addition to their planned program, encouraged creation of this new journal.
The General Council met twice at Dalnavert. Suggestions have been made that there be more meetings of the General Council, perhaps simultaneously with the annual meeting, and at least one meeting annually be held outside Winnipeg so the presidents of the rural chapters, who are entitled to attend Council meetings, can attend. This should improve relations with the rural chapters. In a chat with Mr. Peter Winter, the new President of The Assiniboine Historical Society in Brandon, it was learned that they would be glad to host a meeting of the General Council.
There have been charters granted to 22 chapters, 16 of which are still active. One new charter was granted to The Riding Mountain Historical Society.
The executive met monthly. The Macdonald House Committee is functioning as is the Macdonald House Guild which was set up last year.
Following the remarks made in 1977 about a steadily declining membership, Mrs. Carter and her membership committee has led a vigorous campaign.
For 1976-77 membership was 711. Last year 1977-78 membership was 707. This year it is 762, of which 125 are new members, and 267 are either senior citizens or students. Her committee is to be congratulated for the turn-around in membership and for encouraging lapsed members to renew their memberships. Perhaps if some financial arrangements can be made with the rural chapters for selling subscriptions to the new historical journal, and for encouraging memberships, the largely untapped rural membership can be greatly increased so that the Manitoba Historical Society is not just a Winnipeg historical society. I recommend one of the vice-presidents be especially charged with relations with the rural chapters, with an appropriate budget for travelling.
Effective relations have been continued on a basis of independent equality with La Societe Historique de Saint-Boniface. These relations were extended several years ago and now include the practice of each linguistic society publishing notices of each other’s meetings in their respective bulletins. Dr. Gerry Friesen sat on their executive this past winter and a replacement will need to be found. Monsieur Gerard Lagace, their president, has attended our General Council Meetings. They have had a varied program including an evening of folk singing, publication of a book, meetings in Le Musee de SaintBoniface, and other interesting activities. Our executive has considered how our own program could be improved to provide for a wider range of talents to be exhibited on different topics. Mr. Alan Crossin brought fraternal greetings to their annual meeting last night and saw how a much smaller society has a larger proportion of its memberships attend, not to hear reports such as this, but to debate reports which have already been published in their most recent Bulletin. If we adopted this practice, combined with a General Council meeting, people will have read reports before the annual meeting so a debate can take place on past policies, present projects, and future plans. This I recommend we do for the 1980 annual meeting.
Dalnavert has operated a varied program of speakers and interesting evenings. It was planned that the provincial cabinet be invited to visit Macdonald House on May 18, which had been declared International Museums’ Day by The United Nations. Perhaps the cabinet could be invited on another occasion. Because the operational charges for Dalnavert are a very heavy drain on this Society’s finances the Society may consider following another course of action. In Toronto, the home of William Lyon Mackenzie was saved from the wrecker’s hammer by local people. After restoration the house was turned over to the City of Toronto which now runs the house through a municipal historical board. This avenue should be investigated as one possible solution for Dalnavert.
Ross House is operating under a new committee headed by Greg Thomas and plans are underway to reopen it this summer.
The Centennial Memorial Fund, created to receive donations, bequests from wills, etc. needs money, from which the revenue so earned is used for operations. The larger this fund becomes the more financially independent the Manitoba Historical Society becomes.
The executive is organizing a fund raising campaign to secure a large enough fund of money, the revenue from which, should make the Manitoba Historical Society financially independent. The idea is to raise enough money so the revenue would provide an on-going source of funds for operations.
Mrs. Rosemary Malaher is entering her third year as Executive Director. On behalf of the executive, and I am sure of all of us, we wish to thank her for overseeing all those important details without which the Manitoba Historical Society could not function as well as it does. Miss Areen Mulder continues to provide excellent assistance with the secretarial duties. She has to read my scribble for one thing, but she does a good job. Tim Worth is the excellent curator of Dalnavert or Macdonald House.
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