In many ways a small museum is like a small business. We work hard to market our services and programs, but our services and programs often come with a less visible product. When visitors leave the Museum 90% of the time they don’t have a physical item to take home, unless they found a souvenir in our gift shop or they participated in a program. It is more important to us that you walk away with good memories made with family and friends, having learned something new or gained increased awareness of the past and the impact that it has had on the time that we now live in.
While our mission to be an educational resource remains our top priority, the income raised from admissions last year only brought in about 8% of our income. We work really hard to make sure our prices remain low so that the galleries and programs are available to everyone. Thankfully individuals, corporate companies and organizations are willing to partner with us to fill in the gap with donations and grants. Without these partners we would not be able to function.
Over the past 10 years we have been working hard to build relationships and partnerships with organizations that feel passionate about our mission. We have found that our partners have been amazing to work with! Their dedication and services have been impeccable. Together we have incorporated new and updated exhibits, made significant changes to the grounds for beautification and functionality, offered new events for our youth that are outstanding, and developed programs that have helped with the long-term stability of the Museum. These activities and much more have really made an impact on the Museum visitors and the Museum’s long-term work. Our partners have been amazing to us and we know that they will be impacted by the unknown in the current history that we are writing together.
We know that this year may bring some additional challenges, but we know that we will get through this together. And we will be dreaming of bigger and better for future years, because if you are not dreaming you are not growing. With the partnerships and growing relationships with our local community, we know we will continue to grow. We are currently researching the establishment of a new Education building that will help us to provide space for larger groups including; school tours, AgCamps, conferences, weddings, family reunions and much more. While the project may be set back for a couple more years, due to our current situation, we know it is not out of reach. We also know that the establishment of such a building would significantly increase the museum’s financial stability for the future.
We don’t know how this story will end or even where it will take us for this year, but we know that God has worked through our past endeavors and hardships and we have confidence that our amazing partnerships will continue to work with us as we move forward.
If this situation occurred a few months prior we would be in a bleaker position. Currently we anticipate that if we watch our finances carefully, we can see that staff and the Museum can be maintained during this difficult time. It will significantly impact our third quarter, as we are entering our busy season. Admission, programs and venue rentals during the second and third quarter help to carry us through the last quarter. If you are willing we do ask that you continue to follow us on social media, make purchases in our gift shop, and send in donations. Your help is immeasurable, and we know that every dollar counts.
We would like to thank every individual, organization and business that has helped us to get to where we are! You are in our thoughts and prayers and we have confidence we will get through this together! Thank you!
- Melody Worthington, Executive Director of the Tobacco Farm Life Museum