Cass County Supervisors approve Historical Museum funding


July 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors has approved a request for funding from the Cass County Historical Museum, in Griswold. Museum representatives Shiona Putnam and Lila Hoogeveen addressed the Board during their meeting to answer any questions. Putnam said they were requesting a total of $20,000. She said the money will be used to pay for local contractors, who have worked to replace a 20-year old roof on an adjacent building.

The building will be used to house a collection of county artifacts and displays being donated by Wayne Kerkhoff. Lila Hoogeveen said any funds they receive would be helpful. She said funding for the museum provides them with a challenge each year, as they start without any amount of secured funding. Money provided by the Supervisors helps in keeping the museum open and in paying for necessities such as insurance and electricity. She says the museum is run on a $10,000 per year budget.

During each of the past few years, the Supervisors have provided $5,000 in funds. Hoogeveen says the rest is raised through a variety of methods, including two separate fundraisers, which brings-in about $6,000 altogether, on average. Private donations are also a big part of keeping the museum open. She says they are “very appreciative” them, and when they come in, are “like Christmas in July,” because they never know when they will arrive. Another part of the fundraising effort is writing grant applications.

She says sometimes the grants are approved, other times they aren’t. Federal and State grants don’t pay operating costs, however. Another aspect of fundraising, is a membership drive. Funds received are first and foremost used for operating costs, according to Hoogeveen. Others are set aside for emergencies, like roof repairs. Tourism is yet another means of receiving funds, even though there is no charge to visit the museum. Over the past couple of weeks, eight tour groups have visited the museum. Monies received from speaking engagements by museum volunteers are also directed back into the facility.

The Board unanimously approved a contribution of $10,000 upon receipt of a formal, written request, and another $10,000 in October. The money will come from the Local Option Sales Tax Fund.