Monday, December 29, 2008

Funding the Museum

We’re often asked how the Northwest Railway Museum is funded, and perhaps more to the point, people want to know how donor funds are “invested” in the Museum. This is a great question, particularly in light of the recent awareness of how some investor-owned businesses have been spending investor money. So here it is: unless otherwise directed by the donor, contributions are invested in new facilities and in collection care. However at this point in the Museum’s history, it is really in the facilities where donors can make the biggest difference.

The Conservation and Restoration Center is one such facility and it was completed in 2006 at a cost of $2.4 million after years of permitting and fundraising. This collection care facility is allowing the Museum to perform some truly awesome work on really important objects. Caboose 001, built by White River Lumber in 1945 is an example and is shown here in a 2008 post-rehabilitation photo. Incidentally, donor funds paid for materials and over 5,000 volunteer hours performed the rehabilitation.

The next facility will be an exhibit building to place large objects such as locomotives and coaches inside, out of the weather. This 25,000 square foot facility will revolutionize how the Museum preserves and exhibits its collection. This project is expected to cost approximately $3.7 million (exact cost will be determined in a bidding process) and $2.7 million has been pledged or received.

So how can supporters contribute? The Museum’s web site has a secure donation page here. There is also the Giving Express program through American Express that can be used to donate cash, or even membership rewards points. And you can always visit in person – the Depot Bookstore is open every day except New Years, Christmas and Thanksgiving – and speak with a real person. But you don’t have to give money to be a supporter. You can volunteer, come and participate in programs, or simply tell your friends and family about what we are doing and why you believe in it. Thank you!

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