County Historical Commissions (CHC) are directed by the Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 318, to initiate and manage preservation programs for their county. These state statutes establish the relationship between the THC and CHCs. The CHC Outreach Program provides services to help CHCs promote preservation throughout Texas.
Program specialists field calls and emails from CHCs, county officials, and preservation partners in search of technical assistance. The purpose of the CHC Outreach Program is to build the capacity of CHCs and empower these local leaders to preserve and protect the cultural and historic resources that define the character of Texas.
Photo above: CHCs attend a regional workshop held at the Henrietta Memorial Center/King Ranch Museum in Kingsville. This former icehouse is a historic rehabilitation success story.
Tracking CHC Accomplishments
The CHC Outreach Program receives and reviews more than 170 CHC reports each year. CHC Outreach recommends THC programs and services to address areas of need and also suggests local, regional, and statewide partners that may enhance the overall outcome of CHC work. Information submitted in these reports is used to determine Distinguished Service Award (DSA) winners.
Photo: Workshop attendees take a bow after touring the historic Majestic Theatre during a regional workshop in Eastland.
Expanding Statewide Preservation Network
CHC Outreach helps CHCs align their work with Texas’ Statewide Preservation Plan. The purpose of the Statewide Plan is to bring preservationists together, broaden the preservation network, and promote preservation solutions. Participating as a stakeholder in the Statewide Plan allows CHCs to access a wide range of technical and practical information from volunteers and professionals.
Learn more about the Texas Statewide Preservation Plan
Learn more about how CHCs contribute to the Plan here
Lessons from High-Performing CHCs
CHC Outreach highlights CHC accomplishments in a variety of ways. The CHC Annual Reporting webpage provides general statistics for the more than 150 CHCs that report to the THC each year, as well as, select CHC project descriptions from various reporting years. Additionally, CHC Outreach prepared a wepage entitled, Improve CHC Annual Reports, that features reports from five long-standing Distinguished Service Award-winning CHCs, along with commentary on how reports document high performance.
You can also visit the CHC Game Changers webpage for information about CHCs that are proactive and innovative in terms of engaging communities in preservation activities. CHC Outreach has also developed some tools and recommendations to help CHCs improve programs and services.
Ways that CHC Outreach Supports CHC Efforts
In the Office
- Create and evaluate annual reports and issue Distinguished Service Awards
- Provide technical assistance via telephone and email; meet in person
- Prepare presentations and articles to address CHC organizational challenges
- Promote CHC accomplishments to the public, THC, and Texas Legislature
In the Field
- Organize and facilitate CHC regional workshops with THC staff
- Connect CHCs to regional preservation organizations
- Speak at partner conferences/events about how best to with CHCs
- Meet with decision-makers and explain the importance of CHCs
Working with Partners
- Promote CHCs to statewide preservation organizations
- Arranging opportunities for CHC leaders to share their experiences with others
- Work with county officials to increase local support for CHCs
- Create opportunities for CHCs to meet regionally
Learning from Experts
- Match CHCs with THC programs and preservation specialists
- Use projects from Distinguished Service Award winners to educate and inspire
- Attend volunteer management training and include specialists in CHC trainings
- Secure outside preservation professionals for educational opportunities
Learn more about CHCs here.