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Save the museum

Sandy Historical Museum asks for funds to replace depleted savings


After nearly seven years of serving the Sandy community, the Sandy Historical Museum is being threatened by dwindling funds.

In November, Sandy Historical Society Vice President Brad Picking approached the Sandy City Council with a plea for help while the museum works to stabilize a future source of income.

Several years ago, a society board member proposed his wish to donate some property to be sold in benefit of the museum.

As of now, the Shelley Ridge property is shovel-ready, said President Jerry Lawson. The three lots now have a paved road, a powered gate, a well and full utility hook ups.

Lawson said they have a great view of Mount Hood.

Lawson said the plan is to sell the properties and then take that money and invest it in another property for an ongoing source of income to help fund the museum’s costs.by: POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Money made from the sale of Shelley Ridge property will be invested for an ongoing source of income for the museum.

The Historical Society’s annual expenses total about $63,000, and this year it expects a $30,000 shortfall.

“We’re going to run out of money before we can sell the lots,” Picking said. “While we’ve had two offers on the lots, I think it’s going to take a while to sell them, and a while to invest the money.”

On Monday, May 19, board member Nancy Hoffman spoke to the City Council about asking again for a grant from the city to help support the museum during the transition.by: POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - The museums Phil Jonsrud library has resources such as articles, old yearbooks and written family histories.

She said the museum has no debt. “We are fiscally responsible and financially generous,” Hoffman said.

The Sandy Historical Society is asking for a grant of $50,000 by July 1, 2014. Picking also has suggested the possibility of a $50,000 loan by July 1, 2015, that the society would begin repaying on July 1, 2016.

Despite its fundraising ventures and collection of donations, the Historical Society has not made enough money to cover its monthly costs of running the museum.by: POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - A good portion of the Historical Societys collection is kept in storage, ready to be changed out with the current items on display. The museum is working on spring themed displays.

The society’s annual Rummage and Junque Sale was held the weekend of May 24, but made less than $1,400. This summer the society will hold its quilt and antique shows, and while the quilt show usually brings in $7,000, the antique doesn’t yield much.

As the Historical Society’s savings deplete, the museum is running a deficit of about $3,000 a month, Picking said. He said his goal is to keep the museum doors open as they work toward a sustainable source of income.

“Museums can be problematic,” Picking said. “But we are working toward a solution.”

The museum serves an average of 200 people a month, many of them coming from out of state. by: POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - The museum serves about 200 visitors a month, most from out of town.

Two-thirds of its collection, started in 1970, is in storage, waiting to be switched out throughout the seasons. The museum’s showrooms display historic furniture, tools, clothes and more than 2,000 historic photographs.

The Phil Jonsrud Library holds resource books, yearbooks, news article archives and even handwritten family histories.by: POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - The museums upstairs library is named for board member Phil Jonsrud.

Picking said that if the city doesn’t decide to give the museum the grant, supporters will go probably go back to asking donors for help, just as they did when they decided to start building the museum.

Started in 2004, the museum took three years to build.

“We said, ‘We’re going to build this museum, whether or not we have the money,’ “ Lawson said. “We had to either start, or wait and wait.”

While building, the historical society managed to raise the $2 million it took to finish the museum.

At the council meeting May 19, Mayor Bill King expressed his desire to help the museum in any way the city can. “It’s our history. It’s where we came from,” King said. “It’s almost the centerpiece of the city.”

The City Council is expected to hold a workshop on the issue Monday, June 2.

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