By Rachel Gilliam
1:22 PM EST, December 6, 2012
With help from the community and the Clark County Community Foundation, the Bluegrass Heritage Museum staff and board of directors are confident they can eliminate the museum’s debt within the next year.
Earlier this year, the Clark County Community Foundation issued a challenge to the museum to help pay off half of its $70,000 debt — if the community could raise $17,500 then the Foundation would provide a matching grant.
The project was so successful the Foundation has agreed to provide another $17,500 matching grant, and the museum has already raised $2,500, with more fundraisers planned.
“If we get the debt paid off, there’s a lot more we could do,” Gardner Wagers, president of the museum's board of directors, said.
Renovations to the historic Guerrant Clinic on South Main Street, which houses the museum, led to the debt, Wagers said. The Guerrant family donated the building but repairs were needed to optimize the space for exhibits, such as the third-floor recreation of a mid-20th century surgery center.
“They do a tremendous amount of educational things with the young people of Clark County. It’s amazing watching the kids,”┐Wagers said of the museum staff and volunteers.
Several activities are planned for the Christmas season to help contribute to the campaign. The Backroom Bluegrass Band will perform at “Music and Memories at the Museum” Dec. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. “Deck the Halls” will be ongoing throughout the holiday season.
Visitors are invited to tour the museum and look at Christmas trees and wreaths donated by local clubs and organizations during regular museum hours. Admission is $5.
The monthly Second Thursday Program will be Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m. All Second Thursday Programs are free and feature light refreshments. The December program will feature Randolph Hollingsworth speaking on the life of Mary Todd Lincoln.
The Bluegrass Heritage Museum is a non-profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible.
Although the Community Foundation has issued a June 2014 deadline for the challenge, Wagers said he is hopeful the funds can be raised well before then, possibly by June 2013. Funds for the original matching grant were raised in four months.
If the campaign is successful, the museum plans to host a community note-burning ceremony to help thank the public for their support.
Donations may be mailed to 217 S. Main St., Winchester, KY 40391.
Contact Rachel Gilliam at firstname.lastname@example.org.