Last March, like so many other organizations across the region, we had to close our doors to in-person public programming. The immediate separation from all of you— volunteers, student interns, regular visitors, and friendly faces—was jarring. As a community institution, daily operations revolved around seeing each other face-to-face; but suddenly, our museums were very quiet.
Over the next year, we paused our Depot rentals, Pub Crawls and History Hikes and closed both museums for a full year. We lost volunteers, interns, and the majority of our revenue amid the shutdowns, and made the hard decision to cut all staff hours so that we could keep everyone on our team employed.
At the same time, we began offering virtual history programs and socially distanced, guided walks. We listened to community needs. We piloted an Oral History program that engages high school students in Oral History work, resulting in stories that will remain in our collection in perpetuity. We did meaningful work.
Despite our successes, the Museums face an unprecedented financial challenge. The emergency funding we received won’t make up for the loss of income we’ve endured. We rely on admissions income, membership sales, facility rentals, and donations from folks like you to cover the costs of caring for the community collection, running programs, and paying staff.
As Issaquah continues to grow and change, a strong connection with our past will help our community strengthen the qualities that make it such a great place to live.
This winter, we need to gather $40,000 for the year ahead, to keep building and implementing community-inspired public programs.
Every year we count on community members and longtime supporters—like you—to provide the strong foundation for our annual programing. This year, your gift means more than it ever has before. It solidifies history’s importance in our community and ensures IHM’s stability and resilience.
As we work to recover from the losses of this past year and return to in-person programming—while also expanding the digital offerings we’ve created—we are relying on the support of our community to help us make Issaquah’s history accessible to all.
Our remarkable collection, landmarked buildings, and outstanding staff benefit from your gift.
If this work is important to you, please join me in supporting the museums by contributing $50, $100, $200, or more to help IHM recover from the impact of this pandemic and continue to create meaningful, imaginative programming well into the future.
Erica S. Maniez (she/her)
Issaquah History Museums
P.S. Remember that every donation, regardless of its size, helps meet our need of $40,000. Thank you for donating whatever you can!