2019-2021 American Legion Auxiliary History Committee
What is this program?
The heart of any organization’s history is in its records – items that officers, members, directors, staff, and volunteers have produced and compiled over the years. They provide unique testimony to the achievements of an organization.
Records also contribute in other ways:
- Members are able to look back and learn what efforts were successful, or unsuccessful, and why. Understanding the missteps as well as the achievements can assist in determining a future strategy.
- Exhibiting materials stimulates enthusiasm and encourages members to maintain the organization’s standards and promote its future. Pride in the organization has a direct correlation to motivating the current membership to bring in new members, achieve more goals, create a sense of strength and conviction while developing leaders.
- Maintaining and preserving our records are invaluable to society by serving as informative and educational resources to a variety of potential users. In other words, an organization benefits itself and the public by preserving its records and making them available for use by everyone inside and outside the organization.
The ALA history is contained in artifacts, our documents, newspaper articles, publications, meeting minutes, photos, newsletters, written histories, etc. We do this to honor those members who have made differences in our organization at all levels. Additionally, history allows us to build a stronger organization based upon those experiences. The Cavalcade of Memories museum, as well as the library and archives located at ALA National Headquarters, serve as a resource for our members, volunteers, staff, and the general public.
What can you do?
Honor our veterans, auxiliary officers and members by displaying artifacts and various memorabilia and photos significant to our history
IDEAS for the individual member:
- Share Auxiliary memorabilia with your unit/department.
- Ask longtime members or family of deceased members if they would like to donate an item(s).
- If you enjoy history and want to learn more, volunteer to be the History/Cavalcade chairman or committee member for your unit.
- Appoint a History/Cavalcade Committee chairman. Invite members and units to participate.
- Post your unit history on the Legion’s Centennial Celebration webpage at http://centennial.legion.org/. Involve your Junior members in your activities, helping them earn the History patch.
- Participate in the Members Remember project (see Resources).
- Create displays that are attractive, interesting, and relevant.
- Highlight historical/important/interesting events in your unit/department.
- Include memorabilia of your honorary Junior presidents.
- Use new technology to create and maintain digital images and records. Be sure to make more than one digital copy and store them in different places.
- Make an inventory of your entire collection. This includes your organizational documents, written histories, scrapbooks, etc. Be sure to include information such as who donated the item and when.
- Period ically, feature a historical item or write an article about an important time in the unit’s/department’s history for your newsletter.
- Attend local workshops to learn preservation and conservation methods.
- Partner with local museums, historical societies, public libraries, or local merchants for consulting and displaying.
- Ask members to consider donating or loaning important items they may have.
- Look through your own collection; assist a fellow member in searching through her collection; or search throughout the post/unit home for items.
- Gather photos and document the event(s) at which they were taken as well as the people in the photos.
- Learn the history of your unit, department, and national organization. If you do not have a written unit or department history, volunteer to help put one together.
- Determine if your materials should be displayed in the unit or department Cavalcade of Memories.
- For documents and photos, digitize them, making sure to make more than one copy and that the additional copies are stored in different places.
- Write your Unit’s story.
- Bring your History Book to the Department meeting in April.
IDEAS for Units:
- Your history is in more places than just artifacts. It is in your meeting minutes, governing documents, newspaper articles, photos, etc. Set up a system as to how these will be kept.
- Make sure you initiate a record management program. Review the records management policy sample in the Department Operations Guide to see which records you are mandated to keep permanently.
- If you have no room to keep these items, contact a local historical society, state library, or university to see if they can keep them for you.
- Become visible throughout your community and let them know the ALA’s history and contributions to the community, state, nation, and the world.
- Talk about the history of your unit/department at other community functions you attend.
- Invite people to tour your Cavalcade of Memories, photos, documents, etc.
- Tell your story. Refer to the “What’s Your Story” article in Resources.
- Partner with local museums, historical societies, public libraries, or university archives for consulting, displaying, and preservation advice. If there is no space available for your collection, determine if one of the above organizations may be interested in sharing some of their space for your collection.
- Invite the community and members to tour the area, familiarizing themselves with the organization’s history and accomplishments.
Mid-Year Reports -- Due December 5, 2020. Each Unit is required to submit a narrative report by December 5, 2020 to the Department Historian.
Year-End Reports -- Due April 15, 2021. Each Unit is required to submit a narrative report by April 15, 2021 to the Department Historian.
How To Sheets - (Click to download)
- How to Record Oral Histories – The Members Remember Project
- How to Celebrate Women’s History Month
- How to Involve a Junior Member
Additional Resources You Can Use
- See History program page at https://www.alaforveterans.org/Members/Historian/
- Veterans History Project - In an effort to preserve the personal accounts of American war veterans, we encourage our local units to support the Veterans History Project. Capturing the stories will ensure that future generations of Americans are afforded a firsthand look at the realities of war.
- Record activity within your Unit and send to your Department Historian, April Sinclair via email email@example.com .
- Share any Our Story books with the Department Historian to be presented at the Department convention. This includes Unit books as well as children and youth books.
- Pictures Pictures Pictures - You can text pictures taking with your cell phone to your Department Historian at 907-830-0970. Please follow up with a description of who is in the picture, when the picture was taken, where the picture was taken, and please remember to let me know what unit it represents, or units!