Sept. 29 Sustainability Drive Update

It has been one week since we launched our Sustainability Drive to help us reopen the City Reliquary Museum to the public, and avoid closing our doors permanently in November. So far, we have raised $820, of which $480 are sustaining monthly contributions from new members. It’s a strong and very hopeful start! Thank you, so much, to all who have already joined.

But we’ll need precisely 252 more sustaining members by November 22 in order to keep the Storefront. If we make it there, we can pay our rent and keep the City Reliquary as we know it.

My name is Jacob, and I discovered the Reliquary through my involvement with other small museums in NYC. When I would docent at various tiny interesting spaces and cozily cramped galleries, visitors kept bringing up the City Reliquary and asking if I’d been there. I hadn’t, but I biked over and immediately fell in love. I became a member in 2017, and by 2019 wound up on the board.

In a strange, beautiful way we’ve become exactly what we aim to preserve: a physical place full of reliable magic, matter-of-fact quirk, and serious strangeness. A microscopic institution, large enough to do powerful things but small enough to keep the personality of the people who make it all happen. It’s very a New York phenomenon, I think: a place of absolute wonder, presented with a straight face. It’d be a shame to lose this unsung landmark.

Several of our fellow New York City museums and galleries are beginning to re-open, and we deeply want to join them. But before we can even begin to lay out a reopening plan, we must prove our financial sustainability.

We are proud to say our labor is provided entirely by caring volunteers, and our collections are all loaned, gifted or found. This loyalty and dedication has allowed us to reduce our expenses to a bare minimum. We’ve been able to survive these past few months only through the success of our recent fundraiser and many generous one-time gifts, but without the dependable sources of revenue that we once relied on, we are struggling to hold onto our tiny hand-painted Williamsburg storefront of a home.

Our rent is below-market but not free, and it comes every month. Rent is by far our largest and virtually our only expense. Unfortunately, it’s making the question of reopening our galleries into one of reopening at all.

We’ve been near this point before, and each time generous friends and family and strangers have come forth to keep the Reliquary going. Now, though, we’re hoping to escape that pattern by boldly re-launching the Reliquary Membership program. We’re asking you, our friends and supporters, to directly help us keep the Reliquary alive. 

We’re keeping membership simple.

One tier: $10/month

One goal: 300 members

One deadline: November 22

Becoming a member makes you an official card-carrying Reliquarian: someone who keeps a museum alive. A benefactor in the utmost sense. I’d inscribe your name on a plaque if they weren’t so expensive, but instead we’ll celebrate over beers and vinyl records as soon as it feels comfortable to do so.

Until then, we’re exclusively allowing members to visit on October weekends, as you are the ones who will make it possible to one day reopen to the wider public. Become a member today and you can book your private viewing appointment, on the house, as soon this Saturday.

And of course, if and when we do fully reopen, you’ll receive free admission for you and your household, as long as your membership is active, as often as you care to visit. After all, you will have made it possible.

cityreliquary.org/join

No matter what’s next,

Jacob Ford

Designer About Town

Board Member, 

The City Reliquary Museum & Civic Organization

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