Donations can help preserve the past

Published 9:35 am Saturday, April 23, 2011

Column: Pat Mulso, Preserving the Past

The staff at the Freeborn County Historical Museum, Library and Village wishes everyone a safe and happy Easter. We have many things to be thankful for, such as the grant received this past week from the Worth County Development Authority. This grant money will be used to purchase and have installed more than 300 energy efficient lighting fixtures, ballasts and lamps. There will be 238 in the main museum building and 65 in the Red Barn exhibit building. This is a huge project that will improve the lighting and safety in both buildings. We also want to say a huge thank you to the 21 volunteers who helped us with our annual Village Clean-up on April 16, be watching for a photo soon. We had several volunteers who helped with our third Library Lock-In of 2011 and many volunteers who have assisted us with such projects as the genealogical lecture series, mentors for Discover History, data entry volunteers, board and committee members, library volunteers and those that bake for our special events just to name a few.

Pat Mulso

I would like to give you an update on our building expansion fundraising campaign and give a very special thank you to two individuals, Keith Fligge and Stan Johnson. They have been working diligently to contact businesses and individuals to help make our expansion project a reality. We launched our building campaign in August of 2010 and began to let the public know our plans for the future expansion of the main museum building. During the last quarter of 2010 we received cash donations of more than $4,800. Between January 1 and April 16 we have received cash donations of more than $14,000 and pledges of another $141,000 to be paid between now and the end of 2013. This huge step toward our goal has been accomplished with donations from only 46 individuals and businesses. This, together with the cash we already had in the bank designated for the expansion, totals $600,000.

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We need your help. If everyone gives at whatever level they are capable of doing, this project can become a reality. This is your museum, your history, your heritage and your legacy for future generations. We have no space to take additional items — we must expand to continue preserving the history of Freeborn County and its people. Please consider making a donation or pledge to the Freeborn County Historical Museum Expansion Fund. We are a 501(c)(3). We would be happy to give a PowerPoint presentation and answer any questions you may have regarding this project.

All donations will be recognized unless requested to be anonymous. A book will be kept at the museum to list all donors, and there will also be a donor recognition wall for those that give amounts over $2,500. There will also be naming opportunities for those donations over $25,000.

We have worked hard over the past several years to bring our complex up to date and in good repair. This spring and summer we will be replacing the roofs on the Red Exhibit building as well as the Post Office and the General Store. We have painting to do in the village and inside the museum as well as exhibits to finish along with the lighting project. There was major exhibit rearrangement on the upper level of the museum this spring to be ready for Discover History and our school tours. We have many events planned for the spring and summer and some new fundraisers also. Please step up and do your part to preserve our history for the children of tomorrow. We do have the capability to take monthly deductions from your checking account if that is an option that would be easier for you. We appreciate your support on all levels and will do our best to make our complex well thought of throughout the region.

Remember, what you do, see and hear today, will be history tomorrow! Stop and see us at the Freeborn County Historical Museum, Library and Village where we are building the future by preserving the past! We are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and by appointment for special tours.

Pat Mulso is the executive director of the Freeborn County Historical Museum in Albert Lea.