The first organized "historical societys" appear during the mid 1960's. In 1965 the Citizens' Cultural Center Committee came into being and was affiliated with the City of Modesto. The Stanislaus County Historical Society, affiliated with the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors was established in 1966. Both of these organizations had over lapping interest in documenting, collecting and preserving Stanislaus County/Modesto History. Even though both had fledgling collections neither had a facility that could be open to the public so that the artifacts could be made available to the citizens of the county.
In the early 1970's the City of Modesto partnered with the Citizens Cultural Center Committee to renovate the vacant McHenry Library and rename it the McHenry Museum where their collections of historic memorabilia and artifacts could be made available for public viewing. In 1972 the McHenry Museum had it's official opening.
As the activities of the Citizens Cultural Center Committee became more focused on the preservation of history and historic artifacts a name change seemed to be in order. The organization became the McHenry Museum Society that was incorporated as an independent non-profit organization. During this same time the Stanislaus County Historical Society was still active but without a home to display its collections. With this lack of facilities the "Society" began to emphasize the recording, written preservation and publication of county history.
In the late 1980's the two organizations, Stanislaus County Historical Society and the Citizens Cultural Center Committee, agreed rather than continue their parallel activities (collecting, preserving, etc. of county and city history) they should join together and capitalize on the strengths of each organization to develop first class museum. The resulting organization became know as the McHenry Museum & Historical Society. The bylaws were revised to accommodate and clarify the societys' mission, the names and responsibilities of the three support committees. Subsequently the bylaws have been revised/amended to include a 4th support group.
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