The six Lake Minnetonka historical societies currently exploring reorganization are now at the point of asking for input, both from their members and from the Lake Minnetonka community as a whole.

A 28-question survey was created to help guide these societies as they determine whether and what organizational changes need to made in order to stay viable in future (see Jan. 16 Laker article, “Lake’s historical societies explore reorganization”). The organizations involved are the Westonka, Wayzata, Minnetonka, Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka and Deephaven historical societies and the Museum of Lake Minnetonka (the steamboat Minnehaha).

With eyes on the future, leadership for the six are looking for broader feedback than just their current membership, said Aaron Person, president of the Wayzata Historical Society and lead on the reorganization project. “We want this survey to be distributed to anyone who’s interested,” he said.

Volunteer fatigue, shared resources and duplicative administrative functions led the historical societies to explore some kind of realignment. The project began in earnest last year after they secured a $52,000 Heritage Preservation grant and brought in Arts Consulting Group to assist.

The survey, released about a week ago, is intended to gauge levels of familiarity and engagement with each of the societies; what the interest is in different areas of local history, including geographic, Native American and architectural history and city-specific history.

It also asks how history should be delivered—guided and self-guided tours, history talks for private groups and online content—and asks people to make note of what they think the organizations should prioritize going forward.

But all this aside, the survey also gets to the meat of the matter: how much support is there for some kind of realignment?

Under consideration are the formation of an umbrella organization for handling administrative tasks, unifying the historical societies’ websites and social media accounts, centralizing all historical archives and publishing just one newsletter that has contributions from all six organizations. The full consolidation of two or more societies is also on the table.

The survey closes April 8, and the six organizations will then host two virtual town hall meetings that month to discuss both the future of their organizations and findings from the survey results.

These town halls will be held via Zoom on Saturday, April 17 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Monday, April 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

To attend one or both town hall meetings, RSVP Arts Consulting Group by email at or by calling 888-234-4236 Ext. 202. A Zooom link will be sent to you after submitting your RSVP.

To respond to the survey, visit before April 8.

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