The year 2020 surprised us all. No part of our personal lives, our industries, our systems and our ways of life were left untouched.
For all the sadness and despair, it has allowed us something: the ability to pause, reflect, re-think, and re-focus.
For 84 years, the Brick Store Museum carried on its merry way, bringing what entertainment and reflection it could to this community of ours, thanks to the support and generosity of thousands of people over decades of change.
Now, in our 85th year, silence fell upon the Museum – as it did for everyone – in the middle of March, and life seemed to stop for an instant.
Then we got to work. The Museum team started moving and changing and pushing up programs that helped teachers, students, and people stuck at home. The framework of the Digital Learning Center expanded and offered more. As louder calls for fixing the broken system of race in our country reached the Kennebunks, the Museum made it a priority to fill in the missing portions of local history and representation. All of this work continues.
It is strangely fitting that this year is 2020; the metaphor for perfect vision is not lost on anyone. Perhaps it was through these struggles that we have all reached an increased understanding of our shared needs and of one another. Indeed, the “slow-down” of 2020 allowed the Museum team to “see the forest through the trees,” as they say, to mark four pillars of our work that are most integral to being a community museum.
The Museum’s 2020 Fund will support these four pillars of the Museum going forward.
I. Increasing Access: further development of the Digital Learning Center allows students, teachers, and all audiences of every age access to primary documents and educational resources whenever they need them – from wherever they call home.
II. Inclusive Research: through primary research, oral histories and archaeology projects, the Museum will continue the study of a greater proportion of people who lived here and contributed to our town’s culture, including Maine’s first people (Wabanaki); people of color; immigrants; and women.
III. Teaching the Next Generation: with the cancellation of many college classes (in-person) and internships starting in the summer of 2020, the Museum found itself in a new role; a teaching museum for student interns from around the nation (working remotely). This fall, we have four more interns joining us. Projects like planning educational programs, teaching remote activities, and assisting with administration and collections all contribute to the students’ training, and in turn the Museum’s growth, too. By building a strong internship program here, we build sustainability in staffing, and our recognition in the museum world at large.
IV. Building Preservation: an important part of being a site accessible to the entire community is ensuring the facility’s safety and preservation for future generations to enjoy. This means tackling the tough issues, like the uneven stone stairway (that isn’t accessible for those that are handicapped), or the old boiler in the basement, or repairing the condensing units outside. They all sound like they have nothing to do with the Museum’s mission – but in fact, have everything to do with it. Without maintenance, the Museum could not operate. Without heat, accessible pathways, or air-conditioning, our work would likely stop. And with so much to do, we cannot slow down for an instant.
An ancient Greek proverb tells us:
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
The Museum is an example of this very idea – by definition, it saves history for unknown future generations to use. The 2020 Fund seeks to build the pillars mentioned above.
What will be funded?
I. Increasing Access: $1,500 is sought to increase our online presence and fund new digital programming.
II. Inclusive Research: $2,500 is sought to fund local archaeology work through the Cape Porpoise Archaeological Alliance (of which the Museum is a part) and research and digitization of archival documents relating to minority histories.
III. Teaching the Next Generation: $2,500 is sought to support a series of regular, part-time and micro-internships for college and graduate students and a special fellowship for curriculum-based programming. Each intern will work with Museum staff to create broad new programs, projects and opportunities for the community, specifically students and teachers. This funding will be included in the Stephen P. Spofford Advancement Fund.
IV. Building Preservation: $2,500 is sought to start a modest Maintenance Fund for the Brick Store Museum, to be built upon each year, and will afford us small maintenance repairs (before they become larger problems) without impacting our operating budget for education and outreach.
Total sought for 2020 Fund: $9,000
Click on the button below to donate today (via PayPal). In the area provided, you are welcome to name the pillar of support that is most meaningful to you.
The 2020 Fund Supporters:
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