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Museum responds to Doyle’s letter

Editorial by


Messenger Staff

Dear Conrad,

 Thanks for alerting us to your upcoming visit to our museum. Speaking for everyone at the History Museum, we are honored. First, let me explain that our museum is staffed by volunteers from the Meade County Historical and Archaeological Preservation Society, or as we call it, MCHAPS. This organization has been around since 2006, and a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization since 2012. We have a seven-person Board of Directors, and four officers; president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. We are a federally tax-exempt organization. Because of that, and the fact that we are partially funded by tax dollars, we have no admission fees. Everyone is welcome.

 The volunteers staffing our museum are like our 44-person membership, an aging population. Most of us are in the high-risk group designated by the CDC, due to age. There are four volunteers, myself, Gerry Fischer, my wife, Fran, Shirley Brown, and Sherrill Williams. Fran may not be there when you visit due to doctor’s orders to temporarily avoid crowds. You are correct, and properly noted our limited hours and staff. We have recently interviewed several prospective volunteers, two young people, and two MCHAPS members who have indicated a willingness to serve. Let’s hope.

When we first opened, our hours and days of operation were Tuesday from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10:00 until 3:00 p.m., and Sunday from 12:00 until 2:00 p.m.

 When we were mandated to close in March by CDC guidelines, we decided when appropriate, to reopen on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and close on Tuesdays and the Sabbath. Our new hours are 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., dropping our open hours from 16 per week over a four-day period, to 13 and one-half hours, over three days. This is not to be lazy, but we are working in the museum for more than three hours to clean, sterilize, and wipe down the cases and fixtures as mandated.

 Of the four museums in our region, we have been closed the least, opening first, the week of August. Today, Meade County and West Point are open, Bullitt County is open by appointment only and Hardin County is still closed.

 We would be open longer if we were fully funded. When Gerry Lynn obtained our funding, it was less than 75% of our actual need. We are annually funded $4,620.00 less than our annual operating costs. We have made this up for three years by donations of patrons, a small Fort Knox grant, a CARES grant of $2,500.00 and a bequeathment of $5,000.00. Initial collections from businesses fixtured the museum and built our exhibits.

 Conrad, I estimated after speaking with the curator of the Hopewell Museum, a founding member of the Hardin County Museum, the Curator of the West Point Museum and the Executive Director of the Bullitt County Museum their operating costs, based on our actual square footage rent, utilities, insurance and security, and compared them to our operation. Below are the results:

 Hopewell Museum, Paris, Ky., Building and operating costs, $50,584.00, fully funded, plus $5,000.00 operating cash. Total funding, $55, 584.00.

Hardin County Museum, Elizabethtown, Ky. Building and operating costs, $48, 116.00, fully funded, excepting telephone service, plus $5,000.00 operating cash, by the City Council.

 Bullitt County Museum, Building and operating costs, $35,348.00, plus some office supplies, computer and technical aid, plus $5,000.00 operating cash.

 West Point Museum, Building and operating costs, $14,000.00.

 Meade County Museum, $12,000.00 rent, and part of the utilities total operating costs $16,420.00 annually or negative <$4,620.00> and no operating cash.

 Gerry Lynn knew this, and planned to increase our funding, it really is his legacy. Judge Stith is aware of our needs and wants to help. However, we need the people of Meade County to voice their approval, and know we received no city funding other than our $35.00 sign permits and the erection of a sign on the corner. That was three years ago. Tell me why, Conrad.