2014/2015 A year in review
Letter from the Executive Director
The life of a non-profit educational service facility is ever changing and challenging. Staying current, relevant, and a benefit to the community, as well as fundraising, meeting mission expectations and working to keep the doors open is a constant struggle. The 2015/16 fiscal year was another full year for the Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum. We saw a record number of visitors, grew our school tour program in the form of increased attendance of students and schools, held two successful lectures, started the first phase of a new high school intern program, and increased and improved on our educational programs.
MCARLM has also gone through some physical transformations. After working with a community exhibit committee, this fiscal year ended within weeks of the final touches and opening of our newest exhibit, Taking Flight; Agricultural Aviation over the Salinas Valley. This thrilling new exhibit will be temporarily housed in our new rotating exhibit gallery. Always trying to find ways to make the most out of our increasingly limited space, we transitioned a small storage closet and hallway exhibit into a beautiful space that will enable the museum to continue to bring new, relevant small exhibits, better utilizing our collection, archives and resources. Another benefit to the new gallery is how it opens up the museum entrance into a more welcoming inviting space.
Unfortunately, this past May, we had a big disaster at the museum when an old Eucalyptus tree estimated to be over 100 years old, and over 100 feet tall became uprooted during a strong wind storm and landed on the museum barn, destroying many rare pieces of equipment, destroying the awning protecting priceless wooden artifacts, and causing a good deal of damage to the barn. This disaster was a real eye opener as to how fast loss can occur and how important the preservation of our area’s history and artifacts really is. Moving towards rebuilding has been a slow process, but is in the works. Unfortunately, replacing the lost artifacts is not going to be as easily done, and we will mourn the loss of some wonderful historical pieces.
Moving forward into the new 2016/17 fiscal year, we anticipate a busy, active, and whirlwind year. The much anticipated Aviation Exhibit will open in November, we have a titillating lecture scheduled in February that will be titled ‘Murder and Mayhem in Monterey County’, and we are excited to be hosting another fantastic traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian titled ‘Hometown Teams; How Sports Shape America’. We are currently brainstorming about ways that we can add local history to the exhibition, utilizing our Interns and seeking partnerships. We will hold our 3rd annual 4th Grade History Jamboree, with anticipation of adding 2 new schools and increasing participation levels to almost 400.
In August we received notification that we were selected to receive funding from the California Natural Resources Agency and the California Cultural and Historical Endowment to fund museum entrance revitalization in the form of an educational Plaza. This additional to the face of the museum will provide an educational gathering spot that will add to our already successful school tour program, as well as instituting ADA improvements at the museum entrance. A part of funding for this project will be a ‘Buy a Brick’ program that will provide opportunities to display your name or message as a part of the museum in perpetuity.
As always, we can’t begin to accurately express our appreciation for the support that we have received from our members, donors, volunteers and community members. The work day volunteers and our educational docent’s are an invaluable asset to the museums mission, and we couldn’t provide to the community and visitors the programming that we do without them. We look forward to serving you in the year to come and facing together all of the challenges that the New Year brings. On behalf of the museum staff and the MCARLM Board, I wish the best to you and your family, and I hope to see you stop by the museum soon to see everything that is happening and changing!
2015/16 Annual Report