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History Center of Washington County needs your help

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Dear Friends,

I hate spending my time typing letters defending the History Center to you. There are so many other things I would rather be doing, such as writing a sequel to our Freddy the Fish fundraiser, or finishing a grant to the Shopko Foundation for our “Every Kid in a Museum Initiative”, or planning events around our new exhibit.  But, alas, once again the History Center is being  targeted by a County Supervisor and I feel that I must help you understand our position. Although, I know that people interested in history are very intelligent and would see the holes in Supervisor Chris Bossert’s claims very easily.

 

If you are unaware of the statement he read in September 13 County Board Meeting visit West Bend Cable at 2:35 after the discussion about the Supervisors new ipads he makes his statement, which was later reported in the Daily News an then passed along to a social media news site.

 

Grab a drink, this might be a little long for our fast pace, sound bite culture.  Which is why you will not get this information in any local press. Also, I was not allowed to give a rebuttal to the County Board at the time of the allegations.

 

  1. Comment that the County should be reviewing agencies such as the History Center regularly.  We report to the Administrative Committee, give our complete budget with a budget condition report (includes our totals) an annual report and have two county supervisors sit on our board of directors.  They know what is going on with every aspect of the organization. I have never seen this rubber stamp that he describes – we have fought for every cent.

 

  1. The County has never donated land, property or money to the Society. We rent and receive a grant.

 

  1. Mr. Bossert was at the museum for one hour on Friday August 12, he took a free tour of the Courthouse and Jail. He says that we had 23 people that day, actually we had 400, but some days we only a few people. I’m honest.  But this day, we hosted the West Bend’s GeoCache. A really great program that we love participating in. His other museum visits give no evidence of the date/time or how he counted the number of people. The Library he imagined there would be that many people. Skewing numbers?  This is very dangerous.  I could call the Sheriff’s Dept and ask how many people have you arrested this hour?  They say 1, I then call Waukesha County and they say 5,  I then deduct that our Sheriff Dept is under-performing (which we all know they do a great job) and we should not fund them.

 

  1. 7,000 is a low attendance? Supervisor Bossert does not say why this is low. He didn’t offer any national data that states a museum of our size with our population should have a specific attendance number. The County has never given us a number to achieve. It’s a good number.

 

  1. $41 per person???.  I believe he included the building expenses – which we don’t have any power over.  The County’s proposal for 2017 is $134,349.

 

We don’t just have visitors at the door.  You probably know all this, but just to review.

We preserve and protect the history of Washington County. We develop exhibits, publish books, work with researchers, develop school programs, visit schools and senior centers, fundraise for the rest of our budget, give the okay for companies wanting to build on new property. Act as an information service for the county because people think we are the county.  We need to file reports, get licenses, advertise, make marketing plans, apply for grants, thank people for gifts, manage members and volunteers, develop internship programs. take care of finances, create reports and give reports to the county, work with other community organizations, rent our the Court Room for weddings, prepare and attend board meetings, committee meetings, chamber meetings, convention bureau meetings — are you bored yet?

 

Yes I know this is all stuff that goes along with each of your jobs that no one seems to recognize or appreciate – but it does need to get done.

 

We also need to pay for an Audit, Staff Salaries, software updates, computers, paper, copy machines, phones, internet, pens, pencils, glue, items to put in gift shop, organization dues to chambers and CVB, and things break all the time!

 

  1. We do not keep a low profile nor are we are a vibrant museum. You are a part of our crew! There are actually over 1000 of you receiving this email and another 1651 Like us on Facebook. We are very vibrant and have many events with over 100 people and as you know  quite a variety! Yarn Bomb, Bus Trip, Historic Walks, Veteran events, War Dogs, Comic Books, Concerts, Architecture Tours, programs about Victorian Hair Works, dozens of programs throughout the year – each unique.

 

Final Thought:

This has been a difficult challenge for us.  Someone with power, who is seen by the community as a person with authority and truthfulness is able to abuse his power by making remarks that are not based on any facts, insider knowledge, or expertise in a field.

We of course want to grow, extend ourselves, and push our budget expectations every year.  But defaming a 125 year old non-profit and saying they are doing a disservice to the community is deplorable and makes it harder to reach these goals.

Please contact County Board Chair Person Rick Gundrum and tell him your feelings about Supervisor Bossert’s unsubstantiated remarks and that you expect more from your County Officials. Tell him you would appreciate an honest dialogue between the County and History Center so that the citizens can have a good quality of life at an affordable tax rate.

 

Rick Gundrum

County Board Chair Person

P.O. Box 1986

West Bend WI 53095

(262) 335-4307

[email protected]

Your County Supervisor needs your input in order to make informed decisions.
Not certain who is your supervisor?  Click here for a district MAP  or for a Supervisors LIST with easy access to their email address.  For our many supporters outside of Washington County contact the Chairperson Rick Gundrum [email protected] and let him know how much you love visiting the History Center! 

Sincerely,The Board of Directors

Contact Patricia Lutz
262-335-4678

 

 

 

Thank you.

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