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HISTORY MUSEUM BLOG, Part 2: ‘Respect our stories, and learn from them’

By CONNIE NICE

Coordinator, History Museum

of Hood River County

Second of two parts

In part one, Nov. 21, Connie Nice challenged readers to capture history together during family gatherings, saying,

“Share your family stories and then make sure someone is available to document what is shared so it can then be saved for future generations. You can use a video camera, still camera, audio recorder or just plain old fashioned pencil and paper.

“If you need suggestions or ideas on how to do this, give us a call. We’d love to help!

“Once you have these stories gathered, please share a copy with us, so we can continue our mission of preserving generations of community family history.”

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We are also turning the page on a new chapter of the story of The History Museum. We have taken what was started by our grandmothers and grandfathers and have embraced the mission of continuing to preserve that story for the next generation. So here’s what happening at The History Museum in the next few months.

We are almost done with the finishing details on the construction, but we are still a month away from completing the new exhibits. It is looking fantastic and we can’t wait to show the community all we have been able to accomplish with your donations and support. It truly is amazing! We still have some of the exhibit components that just weren’t possible at this time due to budget constraints, but hopefully grant funding will take care of that over the next year. For now, we have a beautiful new vibrant space filled with interesting displays, plenty of historical photographs and unique artifacts. Some of the displays will change every few months to give us the opportunity to showcase more artifacts and more stories.

While we are almost done with Phase I, we are not done with accomplishing our long range goals for The History Museum. Our next and most urgent need is to raise funds to build a dedicated archive storage unit behind our existing building. I will be working with our architect in January to begin plans for this. This is vital in order to allow us to bring back all the items that we removed from the building and took to our rented off-site storage unit. Hopefully with the community’s support and some grant opportunities, we will have this done before it’s time to pay our next rent payment in September of 2013. Your donation is always appreciated to help our ongoing efforts.

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We have just confirmed our events and programs for 2013 starting with a great winter program series in January and February. You can find information on our website. Click on the “Community Events” button on the left for a list.

Remember, museum members get into The History Museum programs for free as well as have the opportunity to visit the museum anytime, any day without paying admission. This wonderful space is some place you will want to use and visit often. Thanks to the Lions Foundation grant and Downey Furniture, we have beautiful new comfy chairs in our upstairs mezzanine reading and research area that are just waiting for you to visit, sit down, relax and look through some of our interesting historical books or surf the internet with our free Wi-Fi. What a great way to spend a cold winter afternoon. Maybe a museum membership would make a nice “stocking stuffer.” Click on the “Get Connected / Become a Museum Member” link on our website to find out how to become a museum member. Annual membership fees help support on-going mission needs such as archive collection preservation and education programs. These are areas not covered in our annual county operating budget, but are still vital to our ongoing mission.

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With the renovation complete, The History Museum will be open year round seven days a week starting Sunday, Jan. 6. We will only close on major holidays (or weather related emergencies). With this increase in our hours and services, we are looking to recruit some additional volunteers to help serve as docent greeters, research assistants and collection management team members.

How to learn more

If you are interested in learning more about the museum call 541-386-6727 or email the museum office at thehistorymuseum@hrecn.net. If you want to consider being museum volunteer, email Carly at thmvolunteer@hrecn.net to learn how apply.

If you would like to make a donation to help us begin Phase II, please click on the “donate” button on top/right of our photoblog site www.historichoodriver.com . For updated hours and other museum news check out our website at www.co.hood-river.or.us/museum.

I will close with this quote which I feel defines what a community museum – and our museum is really about.

“ Their story, yours and mine – it’s what we all carry with us on this trip we take, and we owe it to each other to respect our stories and learn from them.” – William Carlos Williams

Happy Holidays and happy story-sharing…from all of us at The History Museum.

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