In May of 2014, the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors voted to defund the Isle of Wight County Historic Resources Division (an approximately $221,000 expense). The division provided oversight for the Isle of Wight County Museum and Boykin’s Tavern, and provided programming and tours for Fort Huger, Fort Boykin and Nike Park.
Community members rallied to support the museum during the county budget process, and county officials expressed a hope that groups including the town of Smithfield and historic groups could form a partnership to keep the doors open. Town council members offered support for the museum.
As the Isle of County Museum is one of the most visited attractions in Smithfield and Isle of Wight hosting over 14,000 visitors a year, a plan was put together to save the Museum and allow the Historic Resources Division to scale back and concentrate solely on that entity. In order to preserve the Museum, Isle of Wight County agreed to continue to fund the “building” portion of the necessary budget of approximately $30,000, which consists of building and artifact ownership and maintenance, utilities, insurance and IT functions. Smithfield Town Council has agreed to step up to the plate with almost $100,000 for personnel support which would enable the Historic Resources Division to keep one full time staff, a permanent part-time staff member and some part time docent salary funds. The County and the Town have entered into a Museum Partnership agreement to continue the current funding for at least the next three years.
Thus, funding is currently in place for the building and the people FOR THIS YEAR, but the agreement does not include ANY operating capital so that the Museum can fully function during the year. A bare-bones, bottom line operating budget was put together by the Museum Director and Tourism Director that is approximately $26,000. This money is needed BY JUNE 30th in order to fund the Museum for the following year.
The Isle of Wight County Historical Society is coming to the rescue by issuing a $5,000 challenge grant to all interested parties AND serving as the conduit for YOUR tax deductible donation in any amount. In addition, the Isle of Wight County Museum Foundation has also offered up $5,000 (those monies can only be spent on artifact protection and preservation).
The Museum still has a myriad of unfunded needs including:
Please click the DONATE NOW button on our home page or send your tax deductible donation to:
IWCHS PO BOX 121 Smithfield, VA 23431
You will receive a receipt from IWCHS for any donation $250 or under and a tax deductible letter for any donation over $250. (If you mail your donation, please remember to include your return address!)
If we are successful in our fundraising campaign, all donors will be invited to a
WE DID IT! Party on July 1st at the Isle of Wight County Museum
All donors will be commemorated on this website by donation category and a donors “WALL” will be created at the Museum so that your generosity will be able to be viewed and appreciated by the community and the public at large.