What kind of organization are you?

We are a non-profit organization, known as a 501 C-3 organization.

Can non-profit corporations have paid employees?

Yes, non-profits can pay employees a salary but not a share of the profits. We do not have any permanent paid employees and are thus an all-volunteer organization.

What does non-profit mean?

Non-profit is a legal term that means that we can take in and spend money but that any excess goes back into the corporation. None is paid in dividends to shareholders.

How do you make your money?

Our money comes from memberships, donations, memorial gifts, other gifts, and the sale of our publications and other items in the gift shop. As a non-profit corporation, we are also permitted to apply for grants from a wide variety of public and private sources.

What are your expenses?

We have expenses in maintaining the buildings and grounds and in operating them both as history museums.

Do you pay taxes on your property or collections?

No, as a non-profit we are tax-exempt. We do have legal requirements to make our financial condition and transactions transparent.

Do you engage in politics?

Although some of our work could conceivably have political implications we are non-partisan and do not endorse candidates or political parties.

Who runs your organization?

We have a president and board of directors who come from the general public and are people who are interested in local history. Any member of the community is welcome to appear before the board and seek appointment as a director. The officers are elected by the board.

What is the point of having a local historical society?

We believe that local history provides value in the community by helping to keep alive the memories of the past. Besides the fact that the past is frequently interesting on its own terms, its knowledge gives us insight into we who we are and how we got here. Even as a small community, Palmyra has a rich story that can be understood in the larger state and national context. We want to help tell that story.

What sort of services do you provide?

  • We have a historic house (the Carlin House) and modern museum (the Turner Museum) that are open most Saturdays in season and by appointment.
  • We have a short video on the history of Palmyra that can serve as an introduction to the museum.
  • We prepare exhibitions that rotate on an irregular basis in the exhibition hall.
  • We publish, and have since 1980, a quarterly newsletter with historical articles and news about the society.
  • We keep a list of publications by board members and local residents that help to tell our town’s story.
  • We have an obituaries list of local residents.
  • We have a family file.
  • We have a information file for most PEHS graduating classes.
  • We have a file of historic photographs that we sometimes use in our exhibits.
  • We store many valuable artifacts in our storage room in the Turner Museum.
  • We have recorded more than twenty oral history interviews with members of the community.
  • We have a board of directors and network of friends with a vast collective knowledge of our community.
  • We have a very nice facility with space that can be used for various public events.
  • We keep a file of our local newspaper, the Palmyra Enterprise.
  • We sponsor Old Settlers’ Day in July, the longest continuous event of its kind in Wisconsin, dating to 1885.
  • We sponsor a Christmas Tree Lighting and Santa Visit community event in November.
  • We maintain a website that will be the point of entry for many people seeking knowledge about our community and a repository of information for others.

Do you accept assistance in operating the society?

Yes, by all means. We accept volunteers to help us with a multitude of tasks. We also accept monetary donations as well as donations of historic records and objects. Please check with us to determine if your donation would have historical value and that we have the ability to store it.