Salem Check-up














Every era of Old Salem leadership has been one of growth, refinement, and self-reflection.  Given the scope of Old Salem’s mission and desired experience, the operations of the organization need constant review and reconsideration.  Building on the foundation of previous management administrations, Old Salem is now completing a three-year check-up, whose purpose is to better define the financial and endowment positions, the staffing size, programmatic scope, and community engagement.  All of these efforts have produced a strong, focused, and clear future trajectory. A bottom-up strategic planning process has begun with the goal of concentrating on mission-centric programs and research. The strategic plans are also targeting community-based partnerships which will expand Old Salem’s footprint beyond the historic district.

All of these building blocks are resulting in a stronger, more sustainable, and more exciting heritage site.


Significant efforts have been made toward realizing this goal:


  1. Successfully completed a 3-year financial plan resulting in a strong, sustainable organizational structure.
  2. All restricted endowment draws at 5% or below.
  3. 2018 approved budget is balanced.
  4. Staff size and operations adjusted to reasonable expectations of endowment draws and fundraising.
  5. 2007 staff:  200 FT/PT. 2018 staff:  170 FT/PT.
  6. Completion of an organizational-wide program analysis resulting in a reduction of money-losing events.
  7. Re-structuring of the organizational decision-making process with the introduction of a:
    1. National Advisory Committee
    2. Moravian Advisory Committee
    3. Staff Advisory Committee
    4. Old Salem Historic District Residents Advisory Committee
  8. Establishment of a distinct Human Resources Department with a concentration on inclusion and diversity.
  9. Phase I Consolidation of divisions within the organization.
  10. Creation and disbursement of Quarterly Updates from the President & CEO’s office.
  11. Establishment of 5-year strategic plans for selected divisions (Horticulture, Archaeology, Music, Research: Hidden Town).
  12. Establishment of a MESDA maintenance fund for upkeep of the museum structure.










  1. Restructured the visitor experience toward immersive, hands-on, tactile environments.
  2. Introduction of the HIDDEN TOWN Project.
  3. Introduction of the ACCESS SALEM Program (visitor map, tactile boxes/bags throughout the district, ADA compliant ramps.
  4. Working toward the establishment of a fully public-facing Archaeology program.
  5. Re-invention of visitor wayfinding through
    1. new district map
    2. historically-based street signs (approved by the HRC)
  6. Establishment of the ACTIVATE MAINSTREET Program with moves of craftsman studios to independent, self-contained interpretive spaces.
  7. Creation of new mission-centric regular hands-on events throughout the district.
  8. Expanded social media communications strategy.
  9. Re-consideration of the Old Salem website in ways that will make it more user-friendly and compatible with the MESDA website.
  10. Sold out Old Salem’s 2017 Christmas & Halloween tours with waiting lists.
  11. Opened two new interpreted locations: Boys’ School and the Doctor’s House.
  12. Opened new decorative arts galleries in the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts