I have been involved with museums nearly my whole career. In that whole time, finding sufficient resources has always been a challenge. It is easy at times to get discouraged and wonder if the nation really values museums in general. This was the situation recently when I came across an article in the Washington Post (June 13, 2014) that made me stop, ponder and smile. I thought I would share some of its highlights with you.
The article’s author, Christopher Ingraham, pointed out that today there are 35,000 museums though-out the United States. As he pointed out, that has doubled since the 1990s. He continues to point out that this is more than all the Starbucks and McDonalds combined (yea-we beat out Big Macs and lattes-at least in quantity).
What is even more heartening is that museums are very well distributed throughout the nation. While some counties have a huge number of museums-681 in Los Angeles and 414 in New York-nearly all counties in the US have at least one museum.
This inspired me to look at museums in Colorado. I was proud to discover that nearly every county in our state could claim at least one of these cultural institutions. This includes the three Colorado counties with populations less than 1,000–San Juan (699), Mineral (712) and Hinsdale (843). In fact, the only Colorado county without a museum is Dolores County, and yet even they boast of several historic sites that are preserved for future generations.
Many of these museums, especially in the smaller communities in Colorado as well as the nation, are dedicated to the preservation of local history. Mamie Bittner of the Institute of Museum and Library and Services is quoted in the article as saying that the United States is “in love with our history – at a very grassroots level we care for the histories of our towns, villages and counties.” Museums, including the MWC, play a vital role in preserving the heritage of their communities and telling the stories of those communities.
Thank you for valuing museums-for valuing the MWC.