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Groton Historical Society

 PO Box 202
 Groton, MA 01450
[P] (978) 448-0092
[F] --
John Ott
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-6054714

LAST UPDATED: 01/22/2019
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes



Mission StatementMORE »

Collect, preserve and display objects and records from Groton and maintain a museum to current museum standards; provide an organization for those residents interested in Groton's history; to familiarize a wider community with Groton's history through exhibits, educational programs and publications.

Mission Statement

Collect, preserve and display objects and records from Groton and maintain a museum to current museum standards; provide an organization for those residents interested in Groton's history; to familiarize a wider community with Groton's history through exhibits, educational programs and publications.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Oct 01, 2013 to Sept 30, 2014
Projected Income $32,350.00
Projected Expense $29,557.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Quarterly Talks

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Collect, preserve and display objects and records from Groton and maintain a museum to current museum standards; provide an organization for those residents interested in Groton's history; to familiarize a wider community with Groton's history through exhibits, educational programs and publications.

Background Statement

Since 1894, when the Groton Historical Society was founded, it has provided protection for hundreds of artifacts (current estimate is 3500) that tell the long and important story of Groton, its people, and its place in the history of the Commonwealth and the nation. In 1933, at the death of the Historical Society founder, Georgianna Boutwell, her 1851 Italianate home on Groton’s Main Street became the Society’s property, and in 1939 after extensive renovations including addition of two apartments for income, the House opened to the public as a museum.

 In its 110-year history, the Society has offered educational programs for schoolchildren, seasonal tours of the Boutwell House, furnished as a period house and with exhibits, quarterly lectures, and summer programs. The GHS has partnered with the Library, Women’s Club, the local schools and town committees on subjects of historical interest to the town, such as the 350th anniversary, a town-wide Victorian Stroll and similar community activities.

 In the last fifteen years, the Society has been examining and redefining itself through a review and rewriting of the bylaws and mission in 1998 and 1999; a self-study conducted by the board utilizing the results of a questionnaire sent to all members in 1999; a membership drive resulting in nearly 300 members in 2000; a grant-funded collections assessment and building assessment carried out in 2001; and the establishment of a quarterly newsletter.  Inclusion on the National Register in 2003, completion of a long-range plan with 5 and 10 year goals, reorganization of the board, hiring of a part-time collections manager and the start of a full-scale collections catalog using PastPerfect 5 software were highlights of the last ten years.

In 2010, however, two major plumbing failures resulted in serious leaks which damaged walls, ceilings, and several collection areas, and forced the closing of the Boutwell House.  The board's fund-raising, grant-writing and community support brought both a CPC grant and a Cultural Facilities grant which  have funded major renovations including new mechancials, replastering and repainting.  Now the organization needs to finalize its interpretation plan, re-open to the public, and reenergize its member base.  The iconic Boutwell House is a centerpiece of the town of Groton, directly across the street from Town Hall. 

Impact Statement

In 2013, GHS using funds from the Community Preservation Act grant of $176,525,  completed
1.the installation of a handicapped accessible bathroom for visitors and a staff/volunteer bathroom and all the requisite new pipes
2. a new high efficiency gas furnace
3. new wiring and installation of exhibition track lighting, plus re-wiring of office and research study areas
4. Using Cultural Facilities Funds from Mass. Cultural Council, added a fire suppression system throughout Boutwell House, headquarters of the GHS
All these are physical accomplishments that need to be completed before the programs and house interpretation can be restored.
For 2014, GHS hopes to complete the processing, recording and rehousing of the voluminous Boutwell papers; complete the CPC/CFF grants to add a handicap accessible entrance and ramp, once the weather permits the work to resume; and to open the house one day a week for public visitation.   

Needs Statement

1. Install exhibits and re-vamp period rooms to re-open house for visitors
2. Increase membership to 500 units
3. Build endowment to $500,000 to ensure GHS future
4. Recruit and train volunteer corps for interpretive and cataloguing needs
5. Hire part-time permanent staff

CEO Statement


Board Chair Statement

As a museum professional with long experience, when I was asked to help this organization, I saw huge opportunity. Through a series of planning meetings which led to a new long range plan with annual and strategic five year goals, we have restructured the Board of Directors.  Our active nominating and governance committee has led to the election of board members who represent skills and interests that better serve the long term needs of the Society.  All committees now have objectives and goals; all are asked to submit budgets, and we have created a small group of advisers with specialized skills in finance and investments, building needs, and legal issues.   We have changed our membership structure to make it easier and more attractive for people to join.  We work to help newly arrived residents understand the importance of being a part of a small community and how their skills and knowledge can help it continue to grow and evolve.  For example, our programs on the tools and lifestyle of this early agricultural-based community can translate today into Right-To-Farm Bylaw, establishing an Agricultural Commission and protecting the physical manifestations of the rural history such as barns, the fairgrounds and viewsheds.

Geographic Area Served


The Town of Groton, largest town in Middlesex County, and also all the seven towns that were originally part of Groton inlcuding Ayer, Dunstable, Shirley and several others, plus many local history students with ancestors or family members who formerly resided here.

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Historical Societies & Historic Preservation
  2. -
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Quarterly Talks

Quarterly programs are sponsored by GHS and cover a wide range of historic topics.  On Feb 4, 2014 we hosted a lecture on Researching a Local Historic House and a number of local research materials available.  Other programs in the last year included a tour of Groton sites related to transcendentalist Margaret Fuller, a talk on 19th century historic interiors by Jane Nylander, a tour of Boutwell House by historian Brian Bixby on Boutwell's roles as farmer, Governor, Secretary of the Treasury; a bus tour on sites of William P. Wharton as early environmenatlist; a talk by scholar John Tyler on the history of Gothic architecture as seen in the chapel at Groton School, designed by Cram; the history and economic development of agriculture in Groton.  Also, one case in the Groton Public Library houses GHS exhibits, such as Civil War, Agriculture, Political Ephemera. 
Budget  250 per program
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other History & Historical Programs
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success 
The short-term success will be that program attendees will take out a membership in Groton Historical Society, and perhaps be interested enough to volunteer their time.  
Program Long-Term Success 
The outcome of these programs will be to interest more people in Groton and the surrounding areas in the history of their town.  They will learn a sense of place, understand the role their community plays in the larger context of Massachusetts and the country.
Program Success Monitored By 
Program success will be measured by the number of people who attend each program, the number who sign up for e-mail blasts, the number who join the organization.
Examples of Program Success 
At each program, board members have new member forms, and the program introducer makes a pitch for new members.  Each time, visitors take the forms and there are always new members that come from the programs.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Other areas of impact include a publications program since GHS earliest days  where we still distribute earlier publications on buildings, people and stories of Groton, the taping of our programs by the local cable channel so that a wider audience participates in our programming, the loan of historic materials to other organizations, our work as a repository for the records of many public and pribvsate groups in Groton from the 17th century to the first half odf the 19th century, and the digitization of a portion of our Boutwell map collection, as part of Digital Commonwealth Initiative, sponsored by the Boston Public Library, and the large number of geneaologists served. 


CEO/Executive Director Mr John Ott
CEO Term Start Oct 2010
CEO Email
CEO Experience
Former Interim Executive Director, Northeast Document Conservation Center (2008-2009), Former Executive Director, National Heritage Museum, Lexington, MA (1999-2007),  Executive Director, B & O Railroad Museum, Baltimore, MD (1991-1999); Director Atlanta Historical Society, Atlanta, GA (1983-1991), Executive Director, Hancock Shaker Village, Pittsfield, MA (1970-1983)
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
American Association for State and Local History --
American Association of Museums - Member --
New England Museums Association (NEMA) --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association New England Museum Association

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


With local organizations including the Groton Public Library, Groton Garden Club, local schools, Groton Woman's Club, Town of Groton,

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 25
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 0
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 0
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 10
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit No
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

General Property Coverage
Accident and Injury Coverage

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? No
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A


Board Chair Mr John Ott
Board Chair Company Affiliation retired museum director
Board Chair Term Oct 2010 - Sept 2015
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Judy Adams Retired Librarian Voting
Nancy Barringer Community Volunteer Voting
Peter Benedict Furniture Maker --
Bonnie Carter Office Manager --
Anna Eliot Attorney Voting
Gregory Fishbone Author Voting
Michael Flynn Retired Voting
David Gordon Retired Voting
Kristin Kramer Real Estate Voting
Patti Modzelewski Human Resources Voting
Barbara Murray Retired Voting
John Ott Retired Museum Director Voting
Lili Ott Retired Voting
Michael Roberts Archaeologist Voting
Stuart Shuman MWCC, Psychology Prof. Voting
Bobbie Spiegelman Archivist Voting
Liz Strachan Community Volunteer Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Alvin Collins Habitat Advisory Group NonVoting
Gineane Haberlin Haberlin Herbals NonVoting
Valerie Jenkins Retired Town Accountant NonVoting
Ray Lyons Attorney-At-Law NonVoting
Edward Strachan Morgan Stanley Investments NonVoting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 17
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 10
Male: 7
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Under Development
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Board Governance
  • Building
  • Capital Campaign
  • Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
  • Finance
  • Membership
  • Nominating
  • Program / Program Planning
  • Scholarship
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Fiscal Year Oct 01, 2013 to Sept 30, 2014
Projected Income $32,350.00
Projected Expense $29,557.00
Form 990s

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Revenue $41,673 $41,974 $43,209
Total Expenses $30,122 $32,631 $50,499

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $8,033 $14,307 $10,818
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $9,812 $3,396 $8,163
Investment Income, Net of Losses $19,613 $17,826 $21,543
Membership Dues $4,015 $6,445 $2,685
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $200 -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Program Expense $20,543 $25,710 $44,022
Administration Expense $9,579 $6,921 $6,477
Fundraising Expense -- -- --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.38 1.29 0.86
Program Expense/Total Expenses 68% 79% 87%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Assets $185,880 $174,329 $164,986
Current Assets $19,084 $15,892 $6,473
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $1,050 $1,050 $1,050
Total Net Assets $184,830 $173,279 $163,936

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $187,703.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage(If selected) 4.5%
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? Anticipated In 3 Years
Capital Campaign Purpose Refurbishing of period rooms, installation of new exhibits, conservation of key collection items and increase in endowment; specific time frame and final goal are still in process.
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 18.18 15.14 6.16

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above are per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available. Administrative expense totals for fiscal years 2011 and 2012 were obtained from the Form PC documents on file with the state of MA.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?