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Rachel Desgrosseilliers, Executive Director
Museum L-A

Museum L-A positively moves toward the future

(Lewiston, Maine) – Museum L-A is facing great opportunities as well as challenges in the next 6 to 12 months.  Taking time to truly evaluate expectations versus resources needed while becoming a more significant community project is a challenge that the board, staff and volunteers are ready to undertake.  As the benefits of having a community museum began to be felt, so did requests and demands for new exhibits, programs, events, and community interactions; very different from the original plan of a small textile museum.  It has pushed Museum L-A to have to revise its business plan to allow it to not only meet financial challenges but also its commitment to provide authentic, deep, and meaningful experiences for its visitors, local and from away. 

By the end of February 2014, the new business plan will include a restructuring of staff, hours, programs and events with a greater emphasis on earned revenues. An ambitious multi-year fundraising campaign called “Bridge to the Future” is under way with the goal of raising $85,000 a year for three years while preparing for its capital campaign that will move the Museum closer to its vision for a new home on the riverfront. 

“We are pleased that we are showing growth in all our programs but we have not yet reached our full potential of resources to sustain everything that we do.  Our Bridge to the Future campaign has already hit $64,045 toward our Dec. 31, 2013 first-year goal of $85,000 thanks to our board, community members and an anonymous donation of $35,000 of stock from a donor who felt this was extremely important to the future of the community.  Museum L-A is proud to say that through it all, it has remained debt free,” said Rachel Desgrosseilliers, Executive Director of Museum L-A.  “Our commitment to the community is unwavering.  We are looking to the future with a BIG and BOLD project, a new Museum that will have huge significance in our communities and tell the rich stories of us as a people,” continues Desgrosseilliers.  The Museum asks the community to become part of this worthy project that has become a pillar of the community and will leave a living legacy to its children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

In the City of Lewiston’s recent Riverfront Downtown Development Plan, Museum L-A’s plan to build a new museum on the riverfront of Lewiston-Auburn was cited as being not only a catalyst but a needed anchor to the future revitalization of the downtown areas by city consultants.  “Museum L-A is a beacon that draws people to our community, a destination that is enjoyed by all ages,” says Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald.  “It celebrates our proud heritage and is an interesting, educational venue for visitors, schools, college students, and residents to experience.  We are very fortunate to have such a treasure in L-A, as history comes alive and positively impacts those who walk through the museum’s doors,” continues Macdonald.

Guests from 41 states and 12 countries have visited the museum which averages nearly 3,500 attendees per year plus over 5,500 attendees to special events, much of which is done free for the community.  Investments in Museum programs, events and new future home have already provided economic benefit to the community by $4.5 million.

The museum is also having an impact with children, young adults and visitors by not just staying in past-history but using history as a means to building a better future.  “Our message is not just about the past but the strong Spirit of our working ancestors as we connect generations who learn from each other and are inspired by this spirit,” says Desgrosseilliers.  It is thrilling to watch students of all ages become innovators, gain leadership experience, develop a work ethic and discover self-confidence or find visitors moved to reexamine their own take on life because of what they are hearing and seeing here at our community Museum.

Our ancestors said:  “We can do it!” and did it.  With the help of the community, so can we!