MUSEUM FACES FUNDING OBSTACLES TO RELOCATION
As our fall Donation Drive kicks off October 5th, we wanted to update you on the current challenges we face and what the museum’s goals are for the coming year.
Since our building suffered extensive flood damage last year, we were forced to close our doors and move the collections to safe climate-controlled storage offsite. After obtaining repair estimates, the building’s owner (whom we had been leasing the space from) decided to sell the property, leaving the museum “high and dry” without a home.
The museum remains closed and our staff is working out of temporary office space. However, we have made our best efforts to keep the majority of our collections online for viewing and research at no cost to the public, and continue to carry on the business day-to-day despite having very limited staff and resources.
Our search for a new building site has led us to several suitable properties around the Austin/Central Texas area, but moving the collections and preparing any building to house a museum/gallery/theatre will be extremely costly. At the time when we need extra funding the most, we have watched donation levels plummet over the past year as the American economy went into a deep recession.
All nonprofits, museums, libraries and cultural institutions have faced a struggle for survival in 2008/09 as sources of funding we normally rely on have either reduced the amount of grants/assistance given in previous years, while other sources have run out of funding altogether. The sad truth is that many nonprofits are now faced with permanent closure if they cannot be saved through donations by private individuals, businesses and foundations.
Right now, the board of the Fairbanks Museum is extremely concerned that we too may be shuttered permanently if we are unable to raise the necessary funds for operational costs and moving expenses over the next year. We have already scaled back our staff from full-time to part-time employees and are trying to fill out the rest of the necessary workload with volunteers. We’ve currently put a freeze on new acquisitions while putting every penny raised above basic expenses towards the preservation and storage of our current collections.
Our #1 goal for 2010 is to find a new home for the museum that will be affordable and suitable, and that is the focus of this year’s Fall Donation Drive.
This is the time of year when we ask Fairbanks fans and silent film enthusiasts around the world to assist us in keeping Doug’s legacy alive. Please take a moment out of your day to make a financial contribution here.