"If there was any doubt about the level of commitment to the Island County Historical Museum, a team of dedicated local volunteers have erased it, and then some. Over the last 18 months, these volunteers are the only people who have kept the museum open. They've logged long hours at the front door and in the gift shop. They've swept the floors. They've maintained the county's historical collections. In other words, they've done everything to preserve our local history for the rest of us, all on an annual budget of $28,000 derived mostly from entrance fees, some government funding, and private contributions.Now the Island County Historical Society wants to mount a serious fund-raising campaign to put the museum on more solid footing. They deserve our support.This week many county residents will receive a mailed appeal for contributions from the Historical Society. The solicitation, which will become a yearly event, is intended to provide an annual fund to support the general operating expenses of the society and the museum.Since the Island County Historical Museum moved into its current building in 1991, fund-raising has been done from time to time. But there has been no ongoing fund to cover operating expenses and staff salaries. For the last 18 months, there has been no staff.The Historical Society would like to operate the museum on a budget of $60,000 to $80,000. Modest for most museums, this amount would allow the Historical Society board to hire a museum director and maintain basic operations.If you haven't been to the Island County Historical Museum in Coupeville recently, make a visit. You'll see the value of supporting our local museum. If you receive a solicitation for donations to the museum, pitch in what you can. Better yet, send your donations to the Island County Historical Society, 2000 Annual Fund Campaign, PO Box 305, Coupeville 98239. Donations are tax deductible.Supporting the Historical Society is the least we can do to offer our appreciation to the volunteers who have been maintaining our historical record for free over the last 18 months. "

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