Sunnyvale’s Heritage Museum is a true gem. Throughout the South Bay, Sunnyvale is one of the few cities that has an actual building dedicated to preserving city history. This year we are gearing up to celebrate the museum’s 10th anniversary, and in the pages of the past few newsletters, we’ve been sharing the story of how the museum came to be. Establishing this place wasn’t easy, neither the planning nor the fundraising, all of it done privately without the financial support of the city government.
The Historical Society and Museum Association is a non-profit organization run entirely by volunteers. The museum is open three times a week, year-round, and admission is free. How do we manage free admission while “keeping the lights on” and organizing special events like our recent cannery reception and exhibit? As you can imagine, volunteers are the backbone of the support needed to keep the museum running smoothly. Additionally, funding sources are extremely important in helping us continue to collect and preserve city history and educate our current and next generation of residents.
What are our funding resources? Some of our donors are large contributors and some are small, but each one is vital for us to remain financially viable. Once a year our Capital Campaign helps raise money for major projects such as installing solar panels on our roof, new office computers and equipment, and this year we plan to upgrade our inefficient A/V equipment. Throughout the year we receive donations from people who have had a great experience visiting our museum or simply believe in our mission and want to support it. Twice a year we have garage sales for generating income. Our unique museum store contributes financially and serves the community as well. Another important source of revenue is space rental when we permit the community to share the museum building, upstairs, for special occasions. Finally, our spring and holiday teas, staffed by a huge number of volunteers, provide a delightful experience for our guests as well as a substantial amount of income for the museum.
The most important source of museum income are the membership dues we solicit each year. Those funds provide one-quarter to one-third of our operating revenue. We depend on the dues collected from our members and appreciate their renewal. If you have not already done so, please mail your membership check. We count on your continued enthusiasm, support, and commitment as you help the Sunnyvale Historical Society and Museum Association preserve Sunnyvale’s unique history.