Nov. 21 – An Update from City Reliquary Founder Dave Herman

Dave Herman and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz at the ribbon cutting for the City Reliquary storefront in 2006
Dave Herman and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz at the ribbon cutting for the City Reliquary storefront in 2006

Dear Friends of the Reliquary,

We’ve made it to the FINAL 24 HOURS of our Sustainability Drive with the help and encouragement of so many friends both old and new. Each day we see new sustainable memberships coming in, inching us closer to our very-real goal of $3,000/month of recurring funds needed.  We have now received more than 90% of our goal!

We’re very very close, but it is not quite “in the bag.” We need to secure renewing memberships from ALL of our friends who have NOT YET SIGNED UP, and who still believe our Williamsburgh home should, can, and WILL SURVIVE!

During the nearly 20 years of our existence, I’ve heard two questions over and over, year after year: “What is this place?!?” and “How does this exist?!?” Much to my dismay, the answer to the latter has often been, “As if by magic.” For years, the City Reliquary has survived on good will, copious amounts of volunteer efforts, and repeated pleas for donations to help keep the whole operation afloat. For years, we’ve tried one creative approach after another, trying to invent a new sustainable model for an alternative, small-town museum to exist in the biggest of cities. 

View of the City Reliquary's Jackie Robinson and seltzer bottle collections

In recent years, we had become more reliant on what thankfully seemed to be a steady source of income; museum admissions by international and domestic tourists.  Many larger museums would be proud of the impressive percentage of funding that we received from patrons walking in our front door. We ARE very proud of this fact, but no single source of revenue can truly sustain any organization.  And, in the wake of a worldwide pandemic, we are left brutally aware of this.  

So, two months ago we put out the call to our fans. We acknowledged that admissions, events, and one-time donations had been enough to get us this far, but NOT ENOUGH to secure a stable future in our Metropolitan Avenue location. The only way to keep on our current path would be through a large number of small and steady monthly and annual contributions.  With our friends at (ironically) WithFriends, we set up this new model of sustainable support. Over the past 9 weeks, we’ve been given a new hope for survival by hundreds of friends; some we’ve known since the Reliquary was a tiny window display on Grand Street, and some fans we never knew we had until now.

Which brings us to this moment… 

We are literally inches away from the finish line.  With just 24 hours left to go, we need just $300/month or $3,600/annually to meet our goal, keeping the City Reliquary in its Metropolitan Avenue location, and securing its future for as long as we have all of you by our side.  With membership levels that begin at just $10/month, we can get to this goal with ONLY 30 MORE friends joining us NOW!

What’s most promising about this moment, is the new optimism we’ve seen in recent weeks giving hope for a stronger City Reliquary community; not only for keeping the rent paid, but for breathing new life into a creative and unique space that can support the art, history, diversity, and civic pride that our city needs.

With most civic gratitude and solidarity,

Dave Herman, Founder

City Reliquary Museum & Civic Organization


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