National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
THE NAWCC IN THE TIME OF COVID-19
Smile as you wind
The clock on your wall
On your mantel
The watch in your pocket
On your wrist
They tick away the time
With not a care
For the troubles of the day
With not a care, really
If ticking or not.
Before I get into the meat of this newsletter, I want to remind members that while we are all hunkered down in our houses, we all might take some comfort and enjoyment on the NAWCC Forums. For those members who do not already know, our forums have online discussions covering almost any horological subject from collecting to repair of any type of clock or watch. We also have discussions of NAWCC business etc. Please check out our forums at this link: https://mb.nawcc.org/.
Despite being cooped up in my house like most of the rest of you, I write this newsletter at a time when my optimism about the NAWCC is at a pretty high level. I began to write this newsletter a month or so ago, before we had canceled any Regionals, before we had to close down the Museum, Library, and HQ building, and before we knew what was really in store for us all...as if we know even now. I started to write this in my head, on an airplane, on the way back from a meeting at HQ with one of our NAWCC business partners. I was in a great mood. The partner meeting had been with the North American Marketing Manager for Hamilton Watch Co./Swatch Group, who had flown in to see us from Miami, FL. Our meeting had gone very well. Hamilton, in addition to being a business partner, funds part of the cost of an intern in our Library who is devoted to digitizing our extensive archival information on the original Hamilton Watch Co. of Lancaster, PA.
I had flown in to meet with our staff before the visit and to help make sure we did all we could to have a great meeting. It ended up that I was just window dressing. The staff already had a plan and a great attitude about the visit. Our guest saw the NAWCC and all of its resources at their absolute best. She got the information she needed for a new product introduction. She saw a beautifully organized archive and witnessed our ongoing efforts to digitize it nearing completion. She also commented about how helpful several of our member/collectors had been in sharing their own personal information resources with Hamilton. She was a happy camper and the smile on her face got bigger by the minute as she saw the enthusiasm of our staff.
I left Columbia feeling very happy and optimistic. Our staff, through some attrition and a lot of strategic thinking and action on the part of your board's Oversight & Advancement Committee, is smaller by about 40% than it was 6 months ago. Thanks to generous member donations, they are equipped with new/modern computer systems, which makes everything at HQ much more efficient. It was a joy to see them in action. They all had a great new attitude. They seemed like a well-functioning team, enthusiastically working toward focused goals. It was a great change. This feeling is what started me thinking about how to write the next newsletter.
Then circumstances intervened as they have for all of us. Five days after I got home, my wife and I came down with something. Whatever it was laid us low for about two weeks, my wife worse than me. We have fully recovered from whatever that was but during that time, the Arizona Sunshine Regional, the Pacific Northwest Regional, and the Southern Ohio Regional were all cancelled, and our Museum, Library, and HQ were temporarily closed. While I think we all know that this was a wise decision, especially given the fact that most of our membership is in the high-risk age group, nobody can feel good about any of it.
So, here I am writing a newsletter under completely different conditions than I had originally intended. I am still, and perhaps now even more, thrilled with things at HQ. I have spent a lot of time with staff members and our web developer working on the new NAWCC website. The can-do/positive attitude of our staff persists. I also want to share with you a new list of high points and accomplishments from the last couple of months, which has been put together by your board's Oversight & Advancement Committee. This can be added to the last list we published at the end of 2019. The new list is appended to this newsletter.
Even with the COVID-19 cloud hanging over us all, there is much to be optimistic about at the NAWCC, but COVID-19 is the reality of this time. It puts everything in a new light. We have no idea when the risk will abate, and we can get back to normal business. We don't even really know what that new normal will be. I do know that there has never been a time when the NAWCC has needed the support of its members more. We are like any other not-for-profit in this regard. I know it would be tone deaf of me to spend a lot of time asking for contributions right now. That said, I would ask you all to think about keeping your memberships current through this crisis and to support us as you are able.
Your board's focus for now must be on the safety of our staff and our members, as we continue to work on bringing the organization out of this unforeseen crisis and into a brighter future. Take away COVID-19 and there is still a big smile on my face when I think about the NAWCC. I think we can all weather this and come out on the other side stronger than ever. I hope all of you can share my smile and my optimism for our future together in this great organization.
NAWCC Board of Directors
Chair, NAWCC Development Committee
Oversight & Advancement Accomplishments
December 2019 - March 2020
1) Technology & Security Upgrade
*A project was completed in December to evaluate the organization's entire hardware infrastructure. Objectives included creating a complete equipment inventory as well as evaluating all computers, network equipment, and software to identify security vulnerabilities, productivity issues, and unsupported hardware.
* Funds were successfully raised and computers ordered, configured, and fully implemented to provide all employees (full-time and part-time) with up-to-date computers and software. The office was previously working with 7- to 10-year-old equipment running Windows 7 that severely hampered productivity, was no longer supported by the manufacturer, and could not support remote operations in the case of a disaster.
* A number of server farm equipment upgrades are currently taking place to replace the Exchange email server and two other network servers that were 12 years old and well beyond their useful life. A failing storage system that supports the Museum and Library was also identified and has already been replaced. These upgrades will provide a more responsive, safe, and secure environment for staff and members.
* The antiquated projection system in the theater stopped working. It was replaced with current technology that supports wireless operation and will provide an improved experience for presentations and Museum visitors.
2) NAWCC Website (nawcc.org)
* The website project initiated in late 2018 to upgrade our old site was evaluated and shut down in November 2019. It was replaced by a new project, with a new requirements and oversight team composed of our leadership staff, board members and volunteers. Programming and design was outsourced to EZSolution and Joe John Consulting, both local firms known to the Board of Directors with proven track records.
* The current status is that the project is on-budget and on-plan with a Phase 1 release date targeted for the end of the second quarter. The objectives of this initial release are:
- Entice people who find the NAWCC on the Internet to develop interests in horology, the NAWCC, and becoming an NAWCC member
- Improve ease of use and access to information
- Increase website traffic and ability to monetize that traffic
- Improve staff efficiency through better integration with our back-end operational systems
- Improve member experience for key website activities including renewing membership, signing-up for events, finding local chapter information, and finding business members
3) Museum Update
- For the first time, HQ staff worked in close partnership with the Florida Mid-Winter Regional leadership team to capture and process all preregistrations. Best practices have been learned that will be integrated into a future release of the new website; the Board of Directors & HQ Staff are keenly interested in finding ways to help local chapters.
* A new Public Time Gallery focused on pubic timekeeping is being constructed in the Museum. This exhibit is being installed in the space near the entrance that was previously used to display a large model of Stonehenge. The project includes the installation of a large number of tower and street clocks, including examples in the collection that have not been displayed before as well as the restoration and display of the very rare Ansonia Street Clock, "Quincy." As a show of support, a member of the Museum Collections Committee has donated a large English tower clock to this initiative.
* A study on Museum and Research Library attendance was completed and has resulted in new hours for public admittance. Please note that the NAWCC has been monitoring the evolving challenges due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus and has closed the National Watch & Clock Museum, Gift Shop, and Library & Research Center as a precautionary measure until further notice.
* Logistics for preparing for the arrival of the significant collection of Ives and Salem Bridge clocks donated by George Goolsby is complete. Another collection of important Pennsylvania shelf clocks is also on the way. Conservation of the collections will begin in April.
* The Welte Orchestrion, a gift from a first-time donor, has been installed in the Museum and is fully functioning.
4) Capital Projects
* Four estimates to repair or replace the failing roof have been received and are being analyzed.
* Estimates to repair or replace the failing HVAC system are still being submitted.
* Surface mold was discovered, analyzed, and remediated as reported in the last update. The affected areas were re-tested again, and the entire area reorganized for improved access and use. At no time was there a risk to any item in the collection.
5) Fundraising Events & Attendance
- This year's Extraordinary Give raised $8,450, an 8% increase over last year.
- The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission awarded us an educational event and exhibit grant for $11,000.
- The New Year's Eve kids' event included a scavenger hunt through the Museum, decorating cookies, and story time. A total of 232 visitors attended and the event raised more than $1,100.
* Walsworth, the printer of both the Watch & Clock Bulletin and the Mart & Highlights, has entered the November/December 2019 Watch & Clock Bulletin in this year's Gold Ink Award competition. The Gold Ink Award is an honor bestowed in the commercial printing industry. Printers nominate issues from within their own stable of publications. Walsworth is the number 6 magazine printer in the U.S. and Canada, so there was a good amount of competition just to be nominated. Winners will be announced later in 2020.
Staff and Hiring Updates
The intense focus on job enrichment, technology efficiencies and teamwork, led by your Board of Directors in partnership with our great leadership team has reduced total headcount by 40% in the past year.
We are pleased to announce the following additions and promotions to our great staff at HQ.
* Terry Zaporozec is the new lead in charge of Museum Admissions and the Gift Shop, reporting to Jennifer Byers
* Stacey Strayer has been promoted to Member Services Manager, reporting to Jennifer Byers
* Rhianna Lau is the new Member Services Administrative Assistant, reporting to Stacey Strayer
* James Campbell has been promoted to head the Library & Research Center and is also supervising all building maintenance activities; James reports to Jennifer Byers
* Archivist Kate Van Riper has left the organization. We wish Kate all the best in her future endeavors. Her position was changed to Library Research and Archival Assistant and was filled by Benjamin Errickson. The part time Library Research role was filled by Greg Slye. Both Benjamin and Greg report to James Campbell
* Two part-time interns, Elliott Bollinger and Erin Slough, have also joined our team. Both are seniors at Millersville University and are working with PastPerfect, the system that tracks our Museum collections; they are also assisting with displays
* Two additional paid interns are working on the Hamilton archives in the Library & Research Center: Project Archivist Greg Slye, courtesy of a grant from the Hamilton Archive Project, and Benjamin Errickson, whose position is paid for by two donations. Both Greg and Benjamin will transition to their new positions as mentioned above.
* The entire organization wishes Pam Lindenberger all the best in her retirement from the NAWCC after a career spanning 42 years. The Board of Directors, staff, friends, and family recognized her accomplishments with a fabulous retirement party in the Museum rotunda at the end of February.
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