Spring is almost here and with it comes spring cleaning. It is a nice feeling when spring cleaning is done – it feels like a fresh start. But spring cleaning can mean more than sweeping floors and washing windows. It can also keep us on track with personal goals and hopes of what we will accomplish.

We often hear, “There’s no time like the present.” For a historical society, the past and the present are forever entwined. We cannot focus on one without the other. For example, when we seek to educate the community about local history, we are mindful of how that will impact the present (and the future). The same can be said for when we lose physical historic resources.

The Rochester area has lost many historic treasures. Beautiful houses, architecturally significant storefronts, and sites where schools or farms once stood have been replaced with parking lots, new facades, or subdivisions. It is easy to feel sad by the loss of such unique resources. But this is the cycle of modern society. Years ago, the now razed homes and farms took the place of open land and gorgeous views.

A community is forever changing. RAHS as a historical agency is also changing. RAHS, at various times, has attempted to preserve or rehabilitate historic structures. Two major projects come to mind: The Rochester Elevator and a theater in downtown Rochester. Both projects were worthwhile endeavors. They just could not get off the ground. We acknowledge our successes (World War II monument, Marvin Beerbohm mural, and historical markers, publications, to name a few) and our failures with “spring-cleaning” in mind and choose new goals.

In keeping with the present, I am pleased to announce that RAHS’s mission to educate the community about local history has taken a giant leap forward. RAHS has joined Smart Towns, a lifelong learning initiative that aims to bring quality lectures, workshops, and classes to the public. We are honored to be a part of Smart Towns along with the Rochester Hills Museum, Meadow Brook Hall, Oakland University, Rochester University, and Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital. Smart Towns, and RAHS’ participation in Michigan History Day, is part of the society’s mission — to foster an appreciation of local history — and continues the organization’s goal to educate. While RAHS will always be mindful of ways to preserve the community’s remaining historic resources, its primary focus is education. RAHS is positioned better than ever to provide resources for research, teaching, and learning to students, teachers, members, and the public. We have many exciting partnerships and news to come, so please stay tuned and Happy Spring.