The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center has an authentic and fundamental social justice mission. We are in a critical time in our nation with literature, histories, and issues of equity constantly challenged, censored, and driven backward. We feel an urgency that demands thoughtful consideration of what it means to be socially responsible from the inside out and to advance social justice intentionally and sustainably moving forward.
At the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, we work to advance social justice by exploring, exemplifying, and amplifying the legacy of Stowe as a civically engaged, strategic, and caring person surrounded by a constellation of freedom seekers and activists.
The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center’s Strategic Plan for 2024-2028 represents a dynamic roadmap for the organization’s future, honoring our commitment to preserving the legacy of Stowe and advancing social justice and equity.
Key Strategic Goals for the next five years:
- Social Justice from the Inside Out
- Impact in a Responsible and Financially Sustainable Way
- Define and Lean into What Makes Harriet’s Story Important Today
- Build a Center with Ever Deepening Social Justice Impact, Expanding Our Reputation Locally and Beyond
Our mission is to encourage social justice and literary activism by exploring the legacy of Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Our vision is a world in which engagement leads to empathy, empowerment, and change for good.
The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center’s strength is connecting the past to the present.
As in the days when Stowe and her neighbors met to discuss, debate, and write about issues, our staff, partners, volunteers, and visitors work together in dialog and discussion to better understand our current world and build toward a better future through inquiry, empathy, and compassion. Our ongoing interpretation, preservation, research, educational opportunities, and programing at the Stowe Center strives to create a welcoming, accessible, and inclusive platform for exploring important ideas together.
We realize that true inclusion requires constant assessment and evolution in conversation with others so that we can all do better. To that end, we are guided by the following values:
Respect: We treat each other and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s life and work with respect, scrutinizing all with many points of view, and being inclusive of all people no matter where they are in their evolution of understanding. We listen with open minds and hearts. We use our opportunities for engagement to work for justice.
Integrity: We acknowledge the colonial history and white culture that influenced Stowe and the historic culture of this museum. We strive to shine a light on bias and inequity to build a stronger Stowe Center defined by social justice and literary activism. We strive to exemplify diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
Stewardship: We preserve and share our historical collections and archives to examine the primary documents and cultural legacy of Stowe’s intellectual, social, and domestic life. We emphasize the use of primary sources to demonstrate the relevance of history connected to activism, systemic bias and racism, and evolving ideas of social justice.
Collaboration: Truth emerges in communication and open, respectful discussion with many diverse people and institutions. We value nurturing relationships that challenge our thinking and open pathways to transformation. We adhere to the idea that our liberation is bound to all, and together we will build the world we want.
GOAL ONE: Social Justice from the Inside Out
We will continue to build organizational structure with authenticity and integrity that reflects and supports our mission from the inside out. We will support staff, board, and volunteer development and equity.
GOAL TWO: Impact in a Responsible and Financially Sustainable Way
We will build resource capacity to enable and advance our mission by creating and strengthening a diversified and sustainable funding strategy. We will consider how we engage our audiences both programmatically and philanthropically in strategic and robust ways to ensure financial sustainability.
GOAL THREE: Define and Lean into What Makes Harriet’s Story Important Today
The Stowe Center preserves history, but we are not stuck in the past. As an active, forward- thinking organization committed to change for good, we are vital, relevant, and able to make an impact today and into the future, as our namesake did.
Social and racial justice, literary activism, and civic engagement are defining elements of our mission. By aligning our programming, tours, exhibits, signage, and collections strategically with our mission, we will propel our relevance in a 21st-century world: a world that continues to suffer gross inequity, racial and gender targeting, and suppression of knowledge to preserve power.
The Stowe Center will deliver a clear change-for-good message in all endeavors. Our message is informed by primary source materials, strategies for question-asking, open discussion, personal empowerment, and inspiration to activism.
GOAL FOUR: Build a Center with Ever Deepening Social Justice Impact, Expanding Our Reputation Locally and Beyond
We will continue to nurture local relationships that increase our impact beyond our campus. We will build our reputation as a center of consequence that grows in renown from local to global, known far and wide as a place worth visiting–in person or virtually–for a transformative, thought-provoking experience that inspires commitment to change.