A couple of quotes that I’ve saved from the Jack’s Winning Words blog seem to go together and provided the inspiration for this morning’s post here.
“Although we can’t stop the world around us from changing, some things are precious enough to preserve.” (Linda Kast, Editor Reminisce)
“There’s an old saying about those who forget history. I don’t remember it, but it’s good.” (Stephen Colbert)
It is unfortunate that Colbert’s quote is spot on in terms of our society’s current feelings about history. We have largely become a “throw it away” society with things, with peo0ple and with our history. I am a Board of Directors member of the Milford Historical Society and past president of that board. Like the thousands of other small town historical preservation groups across the country, the Milford Historical Society has as its mission to collect, preserve and make available to the public the history of our little Village and Township. We operate a small museum, The Milford Historical Museum, in downtown Milford, which houses memorabilia, pictures and documents from the Milford area’s past. We also feature a second floor that is set up and furnished to provide an experience like one might have had in a Milford home in the late 1800’s. We provide docent guided tours of the museum.
Like most other small-town museums, mainly volunteers run ours. We have a paid, part-time Museum Director. In addition, we run a program for local high school students which awards them a scholarship at graduation, after they perform a number hours of duties as docents (guides) in the museum. Our hope is interest them in history a little through that experience as well as to help them in their further education.
The Milford Historical Museum is usually open during the summer and fall months from May until November. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have remained closed and all of our normal activities have been suspended. Those suspended activities include the things we usually do during the year to raise funds to operate the museum. When the museum is open we get donations from visitors. We also collect dues from our membership each year. We normally hold a rummage sale called Granny’s Attic in July and a Home Tour of some of Milford’s historic homes in September. The Home Tour normally contributes about 75% of our annual budget. Neither fund-raising event is being held this year and with the museum closed, we are not getting donations from visitors.
We have made an appeal to the local businesses that usually support our Home Tour, with some success, but not enough to make up for the loss of Home Tour revenue. Unfortunately, the bills didn’t stop when everything else did. We must keep the building environment controlled to avoid damage to the historical contents, so air conditioning in the summer and heating in the colder months must continue. We must still pay to keep the landscaping up and this year we had to have the exterior painted to avoid deterioration of the 100+ year old building that houses the museum.
We believe that the history and heritage of the Milford area is precious enough to preserve and to share with future generations. We hope that you do too. If you would like to make a donation of any size to the Milford Historical Society to support our mission, please send your checks to The Milford Historical Society, 124 E. Commerce St, Milford, MI 48381. Thank you for your support. Come by the Museum when we are able to reopen and take a look at Milford’s history. We didn’t throw it away, we preserved it.