30 Years of Our Own History: A Reflection
Recently, I was volunteering for an event at the Hershey History Center, welcoming guests who were entering the museum via the stairway from the lower level. As I stood there looking into the beautiful newly finished patio below, and then the exhibits in the museum itself, I was suddenly struck by the amazing journey our society has traveled. Thirty years ago I would not have imagined what I was seeing in my wildest imagination.
Early in 1991, I was attending a Derry Township supervisors' meeting, and during that time it was mentioned that the township needed a Historical Society that was dedicated to the history of the Township and volunteers were sought. After the meeting I went up to volunteer for the committee. "Great," they replied, "and right now you're it, but don't worry we will help!"
By March, after consulting with the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), an organization that supports and establishes guidelines for local history organizations, we were able to have our first organizational meeting. We had a handful of volunteers, including two members from the supervisors and legal counsel. At that meeting, we reviewed requirements of incorporating and established a mission statement and bylaws.
By September of 1991, we were able to hold our first public meeting and elected our first official governing board.
From the very first moment, volunteers have been our greatest gift, always willing and dedicated to preserving our history. They took us from an appeal at a meeting on a cold winter night, decades ago, to the beautiful, functioning repository of the history of our lovely town. Though they cannot all be named here, the History Center maintains an extensive written record of our early history, documented by Sue Kellner, one of our earliest volunteers.