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WRRM grant helps with operational expenses

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

A CARES Act grant from Virginia Humanities will help Wilderness Road Regional Museum recover income lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

WRRM Programs Director April Martin said the $2,000 grant “will help supplement income lost due to the educational programs, tours, and classes we had to cancel. The funds will cover operational expenses of the part time programs director salary during the time we cannot offer public engagement.”

During the museum’s down time it has been offering “Curbside History Along the Wilderness Road” videos on its Facebook page, preparing its annual “Herstory” exhibit,” as well as rescheduling events, programs and tours for later this year.

“Based on the events canceled and past revenue statistics, the grant money will not cover the entire expected income from those canceled programs, but it will help maintain the budget until things open back up,” Martin said. “As most know, the museum is always free to enjoy. We do not charge for admission, but instead accept donations.

“Largely, gifts from individuals, some organizations, small special purpose grants, museum membership, and earned revenue from items sold in the museum store and from special events fees and donations are what keep the museum open for everyone to enjoy during normal seasons,” she noted.

WRRM was one of more than 100 museums, libraries and other nonprofit cultural organization to share in almost $600,000 in grants Virginia Humanities awarded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Congress passed in March. The grants were designed to help cover emergency operational needs for humanities organizations struggling as a result of the pandemic.

Grant amounts awarded were based on each agency’s annual average operational budget for the past three years.

“We’re grateful to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), NEH Chairman Jon Peede, and Congress for their support of the public humanities in the CARES Act, especially as Virginia’s cultural organizations face financial hardship during this time,” said Matthew Gibson, Virginia Humanities’ executive director. “To have a meaningful impact, we aimed to distribute these funds as quickly and as equitably as possible.”

Other area agencies receiving grants were Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Foundation, Christiansburg Institute Inc., Montgomery Museum of Art and History, Radford Heritage Foundation and Glencoe Manson, and Smithfield Preston Foundation.

According to Virginia Humanities, everyone who applied and met eligibility criteria received a grant, amounts of which ranged from $1,000 to $10,000.

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