It’s no secret that the Orcas Island Historical Museum board continues to have difficulty with both personnel and fundraising issues. Both devolve from what some would call “capacity” issues, i.e., how much can a few people really handle at one time? The current board is reflective of many past boards: concerned members of our community who are willing to devote incredible amounts of personal time and effort to saving and preserving our island history. These aren’t folks who drop in occasionally for tea and biscuits and a casual board meeting. They really, really work at maintaining our museum, and they’ve done a fine job.
Our visitors love the museum, and even in the dead of winter can often be seen peering in the windows on the days it isn’t open. The museum volunteers dedicate countless hours to keeping the museum functioning, to beautifying the grounds, and to all the small ‘tasks’ that a collection of old log cabins require. Many community members have long histories of service to the museum, with little or no recognition or thanks. Many have spent years on the museum board themselves.
Maybe this is the way it always is in small communities: that a relative few serve for the many. We should recognize that more than a few of us are needed to carry on with the business of preserving Orcas Island history.
We all benefit from the existence of our Historical Museum, in many ways that I won’t belabor here. We know what they are, and that is especially true for those businesses which rely on tourists. We might criticize the museum board for their perceived failings, but have we all sat around the board table and made the effort?
Let’s jump in there and help these folks out for our common good. We’ll feel better about ourselves, maybe learn something about our history, and we’ll help preserve an island institution that deserves all the support it can get.