DOVER — Heading toward a new year, Woodman Museum Executive Director David Tompkins said additional money is needed to ensure the 104-year-old historical landmark can continue to pursue its educational mission for years to come.
“The fact is it’s the worst year in our history, probably,” he said, citing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by Tompkins and his team with the desire to hit $10,000 by New Year’s Eve, roughly $4,000 more than the museum’s average fundraising campaign goal.
“This has been the most challenging year since our founding in 1916, and we need your help!! Any donation will help us continue the legacy of Annie E. Woodman our founder, to remain a place for discovery and wonder, and the study our common history, the natural sciences, and the Arts,” the fundraiser states.
As of Friday late afternoon, the fundraiser had raised more than $2,400.
The museum can annually only draw from interest and dividends from its endowment, not the principal amount.
Woodman Museum Executive Director Dave Tompkins said the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the museum’s worst financial year.
Typically opening in April each year, the Woodman Museum was unable to open until July due to COVID-19 protocol from the state.
Tompkins said the museum had to cancel nearly all revenue-generating events, including the historical-lecture based Woodman Speaker Series, as well as hosting Dover middle schoolers for an art show. Additionally, whereas staff could lead about 25 private tours of the museum grounds a day, with social distancing and proper cleaning protocol, the museum could only send one tour off at a time, resulting in about five per day.
He estimated the museum entertained about 30% of its annual audience in 2020.
The Woodman Museum qualified for a portion of the $60 million allocated to state nonprofit organizations through the New Hampshire Nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund through Gov. Chris Sununu’s office, as well as about two months worth of salary relief from the Payroll Protection Program established by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Woodman Museum Executive Director Dave Tompkins said the museum could not open until July this year due to the pandemic and then only at 30% capacity.
The museum was also able to host four outdoor summer concerts and place families in six-by-six foot squares at six feet apart with help from local officials.
Tompkins stated his gratitude with the help of outside sources to help the museum retain some semblance of typical operations.
“Fortunately, the governor’s office was amazing and the city of Dover was amazing,” he said.
Tompkins added that about 70% of the Woodman Museum’s yearly revenue comes from donations while the rest comes from earned income.
This year, however, he estimated that donations and grants were down about 85%- all the more reason the museum’s fundraiser is essential to Woodman’s staying open.
“We can’t do it without their support,” Tompkins said of donors. “This little museum is one of the cultural icons of Dover. Next season will be our 105th season, and we want to continue for another 105 seasons. So we’re asking people, if they can, to support us with any amount they can. Any amount will help.”
The Woodman Museum – COVID Impact Fundraiser can be found at gofundme.com.
The Woodman Museum on Central Avenue in Dover was founded in 1916.
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