Claremore Museum of History receives Oklahoma H.O.P.E. Grant: still raising annual budget

Oklahoma Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the Claremore Museum of History with a $10,000 H.O.P.E. grant this week.

The grant program provided over $400,000 to museums, libraries, and other non-profit institutions in Oklahoma hit hard by COVID-19 and focus on the humanities.

“We are tremendously thankful for the Oklahoma Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities for their support by keeping our museum secure for future generations,” Executive Director and Curator Andy Couch said.

“Missing our annual fundraiser is devastating,” Couch said. “That’s what provides funding to continue the museum for a year.”

The event usually draws between 250 and 300 community members who are willing to donate financially.

It is important because the museum does not receive any regular state or federal assistance nor charge admission.

“We’re having to write as many grants as we qualify for on a state level and federal level,” Couch said.

Grants have been received from multiple historical preservation groups, and the museum also received the federal Paycheck Protection Program loan in order to keep employees paid.

“It’s been rough, we’ve had to figure out how we are going to make it through the year and strategize our fundraising initiates in a different way,” Couch said.

One of their initiatives is a series of videos posted to social media with board members and prominent community members asking for financial support.

Board member George Melton said, “Your support does make a difference. It will help us support the goals we have in a mission of celebrating history, connecting community, and inspiring creativity.

Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Keith Austin said, “The Claremore Museum of History is a great partner of the Cherokee Nation in preserving the important stories of local legends like J.B. Milam, Andy Payne, and Lynn Riggs.”

Board member Steve Robinson said, “Why wouldn’t somebody want to donate to this museum? If not for their own personal enjoyment you can derive from the museum and the exhibits, than do it for your kids, for your children’s children, and lets make sure that the stories of Patti Page, Stuart Roosa, Lynn Riggs, and the countless other forefathers who have some and gone before us are not lost and forgotten.”

The museum has received a handful of much-appreciated individual donations from the community, but has currently only raised one-fourth of their typical annual donations.

Any fundraiser scheduled for later this year will come in too-close proximity with the 2021 fundraiser scheduled to honor Stuart Roosa and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 14.

“We’re asking people to support the museum, if they can during this pandemic, because we are unable to get everyone together,” Couch said.

At this time the Claremore Museum of History plans to re-open to the public June 16.

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