Thursday, June 12, 2014

Raising Funds for Clara Barton

     It’s time for another update on the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office!  The building is now open Friday through Sunday each week.  Visitors can tour the restored space where Clara Barton lived and worked while she was running her Missing Soldiers Office.  On the first floor, they can learn more about Washington D.C. in Clara’s time, and about the many ways that Clara made a difference in this world.  On the third floor, they can climb the same staircase, walk the same hallways, look out the same windows, and pass through the same doorways as Clara Barton.  And while this all makes for a great tour, there is still one thing which would make it an even better experience for visitors – artifacts!

I’m sure everyone wants a chance to see the original Missing Soldiers Office sign in person!  Artifact on loan from the U.S. General Services Administration.

     This is not due to a lack of artifacts available for display.  If you’ve been keeping up with our efforts to open this space to the public, you’ve seen pictures of some of them already.  If you’ve missed it, take a look at some of the Barton artifacts here.  

     As you can see, we have the space and we have the artifacts.  So what’s the problem?  We don’t have an adequate security system, display cases, or additional lighting for displaying the artifacts.  All of these things cost money, and as I was reminded many times while growing up, money does not grow on trees!  So, how does a museum raise the funds to display their artifacts?

     We charge a small admission fee of course, but that really only helps to cover the existing expenses of running the museum.  There are grants too, and we applied for and were awarded some grants which allowed us to get the building to the point where it could be opened to the public.  The rest comes from donations – from businesses as well as from individuals.  Our challenge is in getting the word out to the potential donors.  This is accomplished through appeals to our museum members, special events at the museum, and through the use of social media.  The museum’s website is probably the first place you would go to find more information about the CBMSO, here. 

     We also have a blog dedicated to the Missing Soldiers Office which you can see here.  

     Of course we have a Facebook page too.  Click here.  


Clara Barton - from a portrait taken in Civil War and authorized by her as the one she wished to be remembered by – Library of Congress image.

     So, you can see that we are working hard to spread the word about the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office!  The more support we get, the sooner we will be able to display artifacts there.   I know I am looking forward to that day!

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