A Personal Appeal from our Founder, Dave Herman

Dear friends and supporters,

With great excitement we have just opened a new 3-month long exhibition at the City Reliquary Museum called, “Company Journals of the Southside Firehouse” curated by Firefighter Pat D’Emic of Hook & Ladder Company 104 here in Williamsburgh. This show uses the daily log book entries of our local FDNY firehouse to explain a rich history of the fire service in north Brooklyn. Beautifully handwritten entries, dating back to 1903, detail notorious fires such as the American Sugar Refinery Fire (now known as the Domino Sugar Factory), and the infamous Standard Oil Company Fire where a Chief of the 35 Battalion in Williamsburgh made the supreme sacrifice. We have also unveiled a new Community Collections window featuring the Unicorn Collection of Amanda B. Friedman which will be on display through March.

However, it is with deep regret that we must also announce that these openings may very well mark a final chapter for the City Reliquary Museum.

As many of you know, since its conception in 2002, exhibits like these at the City Reliquary have been made possible through the grass-roots efforts and fundraising of our all-volunteer staff. We have held many benefit events, membership campaigns, and even the occasional bake sale. You may also have heard of two generous grants amounting to $33,000 in 2008 and 2009 which, to this date, we still have been unable to collect. All of these ongoing efforts have left us limping in a sense, from one month to the next, struggling to keep up with the increasing demands of a non-profit storefront museum; a monthly rent of $2,500, ever-mounting bills to cover electricity, phone/internet, insurance, and more. For the four years since opening our public museum, we have managed to tread water just enough to pay the rent from one month to the next. However, we have finally come to the point when this is no longer possible.

We believe we can achieve the level of support we need to truly turn this operation into the flourishing and self-supporting museum it deserves to be. To do this, we have determined that we need to raise $60,000 during the 2010 year. To make sure this is at all possible, we have set a preliminary goal of $20,000 by March 31st in order to keep the museum open.

You can help! So can your roommates, moms, dads, school children, and grandparents! Donating is easy: click on “DONATE NOW!” for an easy Google Check-Out one-step process.

This is a scary yet decisive turning point when we must either increase our capacity to properly sustain the museum, or perhaps more realistically, close our doors for good. To assure that the continued support of our loyal volunteers and donors does not go unanswered, our first goal came as more of a realization. The realization that we volunteers alone, can no longer live up to the demands of our growing museum without the assistance of a professional, paid museum administrator. At a time when raising the monthly rent has become increasingly difficult, this may seem rather overzealous. But in fact, one cannot be achieved with out the other. Our most immediate goal of $20,000 is one that will help us assure that we can afford a new part-time salaried position.

In addition, we have a number of exciting events planned for the coming months. Our new neighbors, The Knitting Factory, have pledged to host two fundraising events to help support us:

Thursday, February 18th 2010 – FIRE SALE: NYC Firefighter Date Auction, Doors 6:00 PM / Show 7:30 PM, Tickets are $20 and available at the door or on the Knitting Factory website: http://bk.knittingfactory.com/

Wednesday, March 17th 2010 – St. Patrick’s Day Benefit Concert for the City Reliquary, Doors 6:00PM/Show 7:30 PM, Tickets are $20, Bands will include: Drink Me, Brian Dewan, Tiagaa!, Frankenpine, Lucky Chops Brass Band and more.

Here are more ways that YOU can help: Attend our awesome events!, share our calendar of benefit-events with friends, sign up to volunteer, monitor our progress toward our goals, and most importantly become a member or renew your expired membership by making a donation today

The City Reliquary is truly a museum “For-the-People, Not-for-Profit”. As an official 501c3 registered charity, all donations are tax-deductible and directly support our educational programs. As it says on our door, we are “Your Community Museum” and we truly need YOUR help to survive. THERE IS STILL HOPE! Thank you for taking a moment to consider the importance the City Reliquary plays in your life and how beneficial your support is to our existence at this critical turning point.

Always civic,
Dave Herman
City Reliquary
Museum & Civic Organization

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