SAM Seeks Additional Funding to Sustain Community History Mission: An Open Letter

On behalf of the Saint Albans Museum (SAM), we are writing to encourage the residents of the Town of St. Albans to vote “YES” on Article 8 – to allocate $15,000 of annual funding to the Museum for a period of 5 years.

This additional financial support from the Town, along with the same amount from the City, is necessary for SAM to sustain our mission of preserving and sharing community history. Despite the Museum’s expanded fundraising efforts, our expenses have increased and continue to outpace revenue. For many years, SAM relied on individual major gifts to “close the gap” in our budget, but that is no longer sufficient. To achieve lasting sustainability, we must reach beyond our current membership. We are asking the greater St. Albans community for support, so that we can continue to provide vital programs and maintain our historic building (constructed in 1861).

The Museum has embraced a broader role as an educational and cultural leader in our area, increasing our engagement and services to reflect those priorities. As a non-profit organization, SAM is a full partner in activities that strengthen St. Albans as a special place to live, work, study, and play. Each year, we welcome thousands of students, families, residents, and visitors through our doors. SAM is:

– a gathering place for educational, cultural, and social events
– a source of research materials for students and the community
– a center for family-friendly activities, including the Haunted Museum and Kids Night
– a partner in community events, such as the Maple Festival, Festival of Trees, and Last Night
– a member of important local initiatives, including the Taylor Park Planning Committee and Vermont Reads
– a steward of our common heritage and the stories that define us

Our 2018 season was an exciting one. The sword of Capt. George Conger, hero of the St. Albans Raid, was located and acquired after being lost for over a decade. We profiled St. Mary’s school, featured a display of local women artists, and opened the new Farming Franklin County exhibit, which highlights the rich heritage of our regional agriculture (ex: maple and dairy). The Museum, working with numerous community partners, developed and implemented a new pilot STEM program entitled “Lake Lessons,” a series of enrichment activities on the history and ecology of Lake Champlain. Over 500 students and educators participated in this hands-on workshop, held over 5 days at St. Albans Bay Park. Over the past two years, SAM hosted field trips or participated in on-campus programs with 13 area schools and educational centers, including Saint Albans Town Educational Center, Saint Albans City School, and Bellows Free Academy.

Our plans for 2019 include an oral history project about local farms and farming families, and as well as veterans of the railroad industry. In addition, new displays on the 100th anniversary of the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery and the American Legion are planned, as well as updates to the Central Vermont Railway room. We are also developing a new exhibit focused on the exceptional connections between St. Albans and the “Band of Brothers” – the 101st Airborne Division – in WWII.

A successful vote on Article 8 will ensure sustainable funding, allowing us to further contribute to the vitality of our community. SAM belongs to all of us who call greater St. Albans “home” – which is why we are asking for your support, and your vote.

The Board of Trustees for the Saint Albans Museum

View the 2019 Town of St. Albans Annual Meeting Warning here.