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American Furniture Hall of Fame Foundation Adopts Aggressive Strategic Plan

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Jeff Cook, President AFHF

The Board of Directors of the American Furniture Hall of Fame Foundation announced that it has adopted an aggressive three-year strategic plan integrating four initiatives designed to preserve our heritage and history for future generations. 

“As we continue to build momentum and implement the first part of our mission – to research, collect and preserve our cultural, economic and artistic history – it’s critical that we, as a Board, formally adopt a strategic plan to accomplish our vision,” says Jeff Cook, president of the Foundation.  “After conducting a strategic planning session in Chicago earlier this year, the Board has adopted the plan and has set priorities for accomplishing our goals.”  

The four initiatives are: expansion of the oral history and book publishing programs; preservation of our memorabilia; creation of a super website to provide original information; and creation of a comprehensive history and timeline.
“The key to all that we are doing is relevance,” Cook says.  “On some level, we all know that we should preserve the stories but no one has been doing it until now.  The Hall, as I like to call it, is undertaking this challenge to present our history in useful and creative ways.”

The details include the following:

Oral History and Book Publishing: The Foundation has conducted nearly 40 oral histories of our leaders and is in the process of publishing each in a hardcover book, complete with photos, for sale to the industry and public.  They will also be made available online, by topic, through a search engine.
Call for Memorabilia: “It is critical that we do a call for memorabilia before it is lost,” Cook says. “This will be a guided request for specific materials or digital scans of company history books, photographs, advertising and marketing materials, etc. for use by researchers and visitors to our website.  An intern is now at work, cataloging our memorabilia with state-of-the-art software used by museums and historical societies.”
Separately, the Foundation will also unroll a campaign for companies to preserve their own histories.  Guidelines and suggestions for how companies can, and should, go about preserving their own stories will be distributed with a simple request that information be shared with the Hall of Fame.   

Website: FurnitureDealer.net has generously donated its services to create a cutting edge website that will capture the stories of our industry in words and pictures.  “The information posted will have historic integrity and be prepared by professional historians, but will also contain the stories that we all love to hear, thus preserving our legacies,” Cook says.  “A fun part of the website will be the collection of stories, inspirational and humorous, that we will be able to gather and share online, and later publish.”
History/Wall of Fame:  “As an industry, we do not have a comprehensive written history.  We are in discussions to commission this research in order to develop a timeline that includes innovations and developments in retail, manufacturing and marketing,” he says. “We hope to illustrate this history with our new found memorabilia.  All of this will then be shared with the industry and public in a historically credible exhibit as well as on our website.
“This is a big undertaking that will take years to accomplish, but we have to start somewhere and the Board believes the time is now,” Cook says.  “We are at a pivotal point. We must preserve our histories and the stories of our legends now before they slip away from us forever.”

The American Furniture Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. is an international, industry-wide organization founded to honor those individuals whose outstanding achievements have contributed to the continued growth and development of the U.S. furniture industry, as well as to research, collect and preserve our cultural, economic and artistic history. Membership includes eligibility to vote for inductees into the American Furniture Hall of Fame, and the opportunity to help preserve the history and heritage of the industry.  The organization is based in High Point at 202 Neal Place, and can be reached at 336.882.5900.

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