After three years of operation, the Lakewood History Museum is in danger of having to close its doors due to a lack of operating funds.
Lakewood Historical Society President Becky Huber said the society needs at least $25,000 in cash or pledges to allow it to keep the doors open for another year. “We’ve cut costs to the bone and now we need community members to step up and help us save the museum”. She noted that cost-cutting measures have been taken wherever possible but still leaves the museum short of the minimum funds needed for basic operating expenses.
Dues and contributions from the current 250 members is the prime income source, according to Huber, but the biggest blow to the funding has been a major reduction in the funding received from the City of Lakewood from the Hotel – Motel Tax. Other fund raising activities are planned this year that will sustain future expenses.
“We undertook a fundraising campaign immediately,” Huber explained with a goal of obtaining $25,000 in cash and pledges no later than May 1st. “Unless we have the funds in hand or pledges sufficient to cover the cost we are reluctant to sign a new lease,” she explained. Monthly space is $2,100 per month and slated to increase $100 a month in June.
The Lakewood Historical Society was organized 10 years ago and opened the storefront museum in the Lakewood Colonial Center three years ago. In addition to the museum, the Society offers monthly programs on Lakewood area history. Board members maintain a website and promote the Society and Museum through presentations to community groups and participation in local events.
The Board decided last year to pursue the historic Mueller-Harkins Hangar at Clover Park Technical College as a permanent museum. Negotiations are underway with the college to take over the hangar building and remodel and upgrade it for museum use. Huber said such a move cannot take place for at least five years and will require a major capital fund raising campaign.
“This is a critical time for the Society and we must gain support if the dream for a museum is to be kept alive,” Huber stated. A Town Hall meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 21st at 7 pm in the Council Chambers at Lakewood City Hall, 6000 Main Street SW. Huber and other Board members will discuss the concerns and challenges that the Society is facing and welcomes input from the community.
Visit the website at www.lakewoodhistorical.org or drop by the Museum at 6211 Mt Tacoma Drive SW, across from Columbia Bank. The museum hours are Wednesday-Saturday 12-4 pm. Please call Becky Huber at 253-582-8682 for questions.