Request for Proposal

Community Outreach Services: Request For Proposal (RFP)

Project Overview:

Nobles County Historical Society (NCHS) has received a State grant to finance the development of a detailed plan for a museum exhibit on the subject of immigration. These Legacy dollars were awarded by the Minnesota Historical Society through its Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. We will utilize these resources to hire a professional exhibit designer to lead and coordinate the exhibit planning process.

Ultimately, the finished display will narrate the significance immigration has played in the history of our county, from its pioneer days in the 19th century up through today, after which Nobles County has become the most ethnically diverse of the State’s 87 counties.

Scope of Services:

One of the primary focuses of the proposed immigration exhibit will be interpreting how more recent immigration patterns, since the late 1980’s, have completely transformed the county’s demographics. To tell this story, particularly from the perspectives of the newcomers who have personally lived these resettlement experiences, we need to hear directly from them; we need to include their voices in the exhibit’s design. To facilitate this input process, we are seeking to contract with an immigrant-centered, non-profit organization, located in Nobles County, that can assist us in establishing a proactive community outreach component for this yearlong project. In our Legacy grant application, we specified the scope of services we were expecting this organization to provide:

– assist the Project Lead in establishing the structure for a community advisory group.

– identify/recruit a group of community advisors representative of the diverse ethnic communities.

– arrange translators, transportation, and other supports to facilitate the advisors’ participation.

– assist in processing the advisors’ honoraria payments.

– with the Project Lead, schedule and co-facilitate each meeting of the community advisors.

– assist in gathering the feedback from the advisors, sharing this information with the Project Lead.

Project Timeline:

Grant Project Dates: January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022

RFP Due Date: January 24, 2022

Project Contact Person:

Jerry Fiola

Exhibits-Interpretation Committee

Nobles County Historical Society

P.O. Box 614, 225 9th Street

Worthington, MN 56187

Personal Contact Information: email – fiolajerry@gmail.com; phone – (507) 350-9808

Proposal Submissions:

All proposals must be sent electronically to the attention of Jerry Fiola at nchsociety@gmail.com. They should be received no later than 4 p.m. on Monday, January 24, 2022, for consideration. The proposals should be clearly marked “Community Outreach Services – Immigration Exhibit” in the subject heading. The proposal should include the following: a brief description of your organization’s experience in offering such services, your proposed fee for carrying out the described activities, and an indication of which organization staff members would be responsible for implementing this proposed action plan.

Security Assessment: Request for Proposal (RFP)

Project Overview:

Nobles County Historical Society (NCHS) has received a State grant to conduct a security assessment of its properties: the National Guard Armory building and Pioneer Village historic site, both in Worthington, MN. A security assessment is a critical onsite examination of NCHS’s current security status to identify deficiencies or excesses, to determine protection needed, and to make recommendations to improve overall security. It will determine what cost-effective changes and improvements are feasible and necessary to improve physical, personnel, and electronic security issues.

Scope of Services:

The assessment will be performed by a knowledgeable professional who understands the functions of a cultural property and can recognize problem areas with a reasonable amount of research. A professional certified by the International Foundation of Cultural Property Professionals is preferred.

Prior to a site visit, the consultant needs to complete a comprehensive review of all security-related policies and procedures at the two sites.

During an in-person site visit, the consultant needs to review the facilities and operations at both locations, including customer service, money handling, fire and safety issues, opening and closing procedures, storage and property accountability and current security assets and methods. This will include an after-hours assessment of the facilities and surrounding areas. Additionally, the consultant will interview staff and board members to discuss their experiences and concerns with security status.

Based on this research, the consultant will complete an initial draft report for review, and within 30 days a final written report of findings and observations; short-term and long-term recommendations on how to address security concerns, as well as comprehensive and cost-effective ways to deal with the shortcomings.

Project Timeline:

Grant Project Dates: January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022

RFP Due Date: January 26, 2022

Project Contact Person:

Beth Rickers

Nobles County Historical Society

P.O. Box 614, 225 9th Street

Worthington, MN 56187

Email – nchsociety@gmail.com; phone – (507) 295-5397

Proposal Submissions:

All proposals must be sent electronically to the attention of Beth Rickers at nchsociety@gmail.com. They should be received no later than 4 p.m. on Monday, January 24, 2022, for consideration. The proposals should be clearly marked “Security Assessment Proposal” in the subject heading. The proposal should include the following: a brief description of your organization’s experience in offering such services, your proposed fee for carrying out the described activities, and an indication of which organization staff members would be responsible for implementing this proposed action plan.

 Request For Proposals: Interpretive Exhibit Plan 

Exhibit: “We Are Here – Immigration In Nobles County”

Solicited by: Nobles County Historical Society, 225 Ninth Street, Worthington, Minnesota 56187;  nchsociety@gmail.com; (507) 295-5397 

Proposal Due Date: 5 p.m. February 4, 2022

Project Contact: Jerry Fiola, Exhibits-Interpretation Committee; fiolajerry@gmail.com; (507) 350-9808 

Project Overview/Background: 

The Nobles County Historical Society (NCHS) in Worthington, Minnesota, is requesting proposals for a comprehensive exhibit plan to interpret the county’s immigration history, from the 1870s until today. This RFP is for a complete design of the exhibition’s displays, including interactive and audiovisual components, lighting and all related materials. 

From 1962 until the fall of 2021, NCHS was located in the basement of the Nobles County War Memorial Building. Over the years, the Society’s operations space had been reduced to only 2,750 square feet, making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to properly display and store its collections. There was absolutely no room available for future growth. 

In May 2015, the Nobles County Commissioners purchased the former Worthington National Guard Armory as a possible location for a new county library. After it had been determined this structure was not well suited for the library’s purposes, the County began searching for alternative uses of the facility. They approached NCHS to see if they were interested in relocating to this site. 

While working to secure a Federal Register listing for the 100-year old Armory, the Society was awarded a State Legacy grant to have a qualified architect conduct a feasibility study of the building’s suitability to house NCHS’s museum and offices. The consultant’s final report concluded the three-story brick structure, consisting of more than 26,000 square feet, was indeed sound and could be effectively adapted to accommodate the Society’s varied program needs. They indicated the building’s rehabilitation could be completed in phases over several years at an estimated cost of $6 million. 

After securing $2 million in start-up funds, NCHS hired a project architect to oversee the development of the building renovation plans and the first round of structural improvements. Now some two years later, after raising approximately $4+ million, the Society is hopeful that the completion of the capital campaign’s upcoming public phase will enable it to finish the entire rehabilitation project. The grand opening of the newly-named Nobles County Heritage Center has been tentatively slated for later this spring/summer. 

To better prepare for the planned re-tooling of its history museum, NCHS opted to create a long-range interpretive plan with specific goals/themes and a framework for guiding the development of future exhibits. The Society received two different Legacy grants to underwrite the cost of the interpretive planning process. The hired consultant, Bluestem Heritage Group, worked closely with NCHS’s Exhibits-Interpretation Committee to produce a final report that was ultimately adopted by the Society’s board this past summer. 

In creating an exhibition plan for the county’s immigration history, exhibit planners are encouraged to consider how best to integrate certain messages into the exhibit’s design, particularly those articulated in NCHS’s recently completed interpretive plan: 

Lead Interpretive Message: “Building The Community, Creating Our Home” 

Central Subthemes: 

I. Building and Creating: The efforts and inventions that have grown Nobles County. From new settlements to new songs, local residents have explored, invented, and invested in foundational efforts that have set the stage for our success. 

II. Community: The groups and organizations that have sustained us. From the earliest towns founded as religious settlements, to the churches, social clubs, ethnic organizations, worker’s unions, volunteer groups, and music bands, Nobles county residents have joined together for work, fun, and support. 

III. Our Home: The unique people and places that help define us. Over the centuries, the idea of ‘home’ in Nobles county has taken many forms. Today, Nobles residents continue to welcome newcomers and expand the ideas of home. 

NCHS has also identified a prioritized list of the initial permanent exhibits to be planned for the new museum – immigration, agricultural production, music traditions, and the Armory building history. After considering all the stories that make up the county’s history, the Exhibits-Interpretation Committee decided immigration was inarguably the county’s most noteworthy and defining characteristic. Since the 1980s, due to the influx of hundreds of immigrants/refugees – Latinos, Southeast Asians, and East Africans – Nobles has become the most ethnically diverse of all Minnesota’s 87 counties. Given these population changes, NCHS determined it was well positioned to narrate and highlight the story of how immigration has impacted living in rural Minnesota communities. 

In light of the county’s shifting demographics, the Society has also reset the organization’s targeted audiences to include the following groups of people:

  • Social Adults and Families (e.g., families with school-age children) 
  • Newcomers (i.e., recent immigrants/refugees from within and outside the country)
  • History Buffs and Traditionalists.

Approximately 1,800 square feet of the new Nobles County Heritage Center exhibit hall has been designated for displaying this first permanent exhibit. 

Scope of Services:

 In the course of developing an immigration exhibit plan, NCHS expects the exhibit design firm to provide the following project deliverables: 

I. Planning/Facilitating Project Launch Meeting 

The Project Lead, representing NCHS, will assist in planning/facilitating this meeting. This session will also include the coordinator of the community outreach component designed to gather input/feedback from the county’s immigrant population groups. Agenda items will include: reviewing the available exhibit space; discussing the exhibit’s goals/objectives; reviewing existing immigration themes as well as potential exhibit materials; prioritizing exhibit topics; and reviewing the project’s budget. 

II. Schematic Design – Phase I 

As part of this phase in the exhibit planning process, the exhibit design firm will complete the following: a preliminary floor plan with traffic flow analysis; preliminary exhibit sketches; a narrative walk-through and design analysis; a draft overview and content outline (including descriptions of major exhibits); preliminary audiovisual and interactive descriptions; graphic inspiration; budget estimates by square foot costs per area; a detailed schedule for remaining phases; a presentation of the design package via WebEx. 

III. Schematic Design – Phase II 

During this phase of the exhibit planning process, the exhibit design firm will complete the following: a scaled floor plan with individual exhibit areas and major elements identified; preliminary lighting, electrical, and finish plans; updated overview and content outline; a preliminary content manual (including text, graphics, and artifacts); updated audiovisual and interactive descriptions; graphic approach color palette, fonts, and text hierarchy; cost estimates for each area; updated design schedule; a presentation of the design package via WebEx. 

IV. Design Development – Phase I 

In the next stage of the exhibit planning process, the exhibit design firm will complete the following: updated floor plans and elevations (including exhibit areas and major elements developed); updated audiovisual, lighting, power/data, and interior finish plans; detailed content manual (text, graphics, and artifacts); digital finish board and finish schedule; text intent with headlines and draft images identified; updated graphic approach with graphic templates for major graphic types; updated exhibit component list with descriptions; preliminary art reference package with artifact and image matrix; updated cost proposal and schedule; a presentation of the design package via WebEx. 

V. Design Development – Phase II 

For the final step in the exhibit planning process, the exhibit design firm will complete the following: physical materials and color choices assembled on a finish board; final floor plans and exhibit elevations/scale drawings of all exhibit components; updated audiovisual, lighting, power/data, and interior finish plans; final graphic approach; detailed content manual with descriptions of all components and written text for all panels; final image matrix, artifact matrix, and art reference package; final cost proposal for fabrication and installation; updated schedule with pre-production, production, and installation phases; a presentation of the design package via WebEx. 

There are two additional project deliverables embedded in the above described planning phases that have not been described clearly enough and are worth noting. The exhibit design team will be expected to complete these tasks as well: 

1. Though some information on the county’s immigration experiences was compiled during NCHS’s interpretive planning process, the exhibit design firm will need to supplement and expand on this research by gathering additional data on Nobles County’s immigration from a variety of historical sources. 

2. To ensure this immigration exhibit is inclusive of the county’s newcomer population groups, we built into our grant proposal a separate community outreach component to be funded with the Legacy monies. NCHS will contract with a local, immigrant-centered agency to organize this outreach activity with the help of bilingual advisors who are representative of the different ethnic groups. Though the exhibit design firm will not be responsible for directly managing the outreach component, they will be expected to provide these advisors with detailed information on the story lines being proposed for the exhibit’s design. In return, the advisors will offer their feedback as a way to vett the exhibit plan with subjects who are an integral part of the exhibit’s focus. After hearing immigrants’ feedback, the design firm will need to report on how they accommodated the advisors’ input, and if they made any subsequent revisions in the exhibit plan. 

Qualifications/Expectations 

Exhibit design firms interested in submitting a comprehensive plan for NCHS’s exhibit on the history of immigration should meet the following qualifications: 

  • Experienced in exhibit planning and museum scriptwriting
  • Skilled in museum writing, especially in regards to cohesion, length, readability
  • Knowledgeable and skilled in developing effective exhibits through the use of both active and passive interpretive media
  • Able to create and tell engaging stories through exhibits
  • Strong organizational abilities and attention to detail
  • Committed to quality control, open communication, and collaboration 

Proposal Requirements 

Submitted proposals should provide a concise and complete description of the firm’s capabilities to satisfy the requirements of the RFP. They should be sent as an electronic file, in PDF format, to the Nobles County Historical Society at nchsociety@gmail.com. 

The proposal should address the following elements: 

  • Brief cover letter describing your firm’s interest in the project and your design philosophy
  • Summary of your firm’s background, resources, and relevant experiences
  • Project management plan/communication plan, including contact information for key personnel
  • Work plan with scheduled target dates for interim completion deadlines
  • Stated milestones that can be used to fulfill MNHS grant reporting requirements
  • Examples of 3 to 5 similar exhibit plans
  • References from 3 to 5 past clients with similarly-sized projects
  • Detailed cost proposal with itemization of estimated expenses by project phase (NCHS was awarded a Legacy grant of $ 89,500 to fund the exhibit designers’ plan.)
  • Complete proposals are due in the NCHS office by 5 p.m. Friday, February 4, 2022. 

Questions 

Questions regarding this RFP should be directed to Jerry Fiola, Exhibits-Interpretation Committee Chairperson and Project Lead. You will find his and NCHS’s contact information on the cover page.