T-S: Hoping for a miracle: Budget woes forcing closure of Natural History Museum

The Times-Standard reports on the pending closure of HSU’s Natural History Museum:

ARCATA — Director Melissa Zielinski is hoping a miracle can save Humboldt State University’s Natural History Museum.

Sitting amid the museum’s diverse collection just an hour after Friday’s official announcement that budget woes were forcing the downtown Arcata facility to close at the end of August — Zielinski said she wasn’t willing to give up hope. Not yet.

”I’m hoping we can find some other solution,” she said, looking around at the colorful displays she’s helped student interns design over the years. “But it really doesn’t rest with the university because the university is in such dire straits right now.”

The museum’s only hope is a donor or an outpouring of community support, Zielinski said.

”My plea is if there is somebody out there who really wants this place to stay and is able to fund us, now is the time to step forward,” she said.

Read in full here.

The Natural History Museum has helped instill a love and understanding of nature in adults and children alike – especially children. Humboldt Bay boat trips, Marsh Explorer day camps, programs with Friends of the Dunes. I’d hoped Surfrider could offer an ocean program in the future, but without some huge help, the museum won’t have a future. It’s truly an amazing, special place. If anyone can make a miracle happen, please do.

For more information on HSU’s Natural History Museum or to help, call 826-4479 or visit its website.


One Response

  1. I don’t know if you would be interested in doing a follow up post to this post to include the newest information about the effort to save the NHM. We’ve started a blog, twitter and are working on a website and other efforts to raise the money to keep the doors open. The group meets again tomorrow (Wednesday) during the Board Meeting to continue with planning and development.

    I have included the press release below. Up to date information can be found at http://savearcatanhm.blogspot.com or http://www.twitter.com/savearcatanhm

    We would appreciate any helpful press and/or support from your organization. Please email me if you have any questions. Thank you.

    Cutcha Baldy
    Volunteer Marketing Coordinator


    A survey of potential pledges garners $27,000 in one day

    On Monday August 17 a dedicated group of community volunteers and members of the Board for the Natural History Museum met at a second planning meeting to discuss the future of the museum. A survey of attendees at the meeting garnered potential pledges for $27,000 to help keep the museum open. Additionally, the group launched plans for short term fundraising and long term strategies to keep the museum open.

    On August 7, 2009 Humboldt State University announced plans to close the museum due to State Budget Constraints. Immediately after the announcement concerned community members rallied their support to “Save Arcata’s Natural History Museum.” On August 12 the first community meeting was held at the Museum with over 60 people in attendance. At this meeting Dean James Howard and Associate Dean Steven Smith agreed to let the group come up with a plan by Aug. 28 to raise $120,000 and to submit strategies for long term fiscal support for the museum. A second meeting held on August 17 set forth a fundraising, marketing and long term strategies plan for the future of the museum.

    The museum was opened 20 years ago with donations from companies and foundations. HSU pays about $100,000 annually for the museum director’s salary, utilities, maintenance, and a portion of the museum’s operating expenses. The museum generates a roughly equivalent amount, about $120,000, through memberships, programs, store sales, sponsorships, and donations from the public.

    The next scheduled meeting to discuss the fundraising plan and proposal submission will be during the Board Meeting at the Natural History Museum on August 19, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. The group has also launched a blog (http://savearcatanhm.blogspot.com) ; twitter (www.twitter.com/savearcatanhm) ; and Facebook page.

    For the most up to date information about this event and what others can do to help out the fundraising effort please visit the blog or email savearcatanhm@gmail.com . For interviews please contact Karen Reiss, 825-0465 or karen-reiss@redwoods.edu

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