For many, September is a time of new beginnings—freshly sharpened pencils, fresh notebooks, and a backpack still in one piece! We at Dallas Heritage Village are also looking forward to some new beginnings: work continues on the Fisher Road Bathrooms. Details are being finalized for fall events. And as the weather cools, we’re looking forward to seeing old and new friends at the Village. But it’s also a time to reflect on our past year of activities. Our fiscal year ends September 30, so we’ve also been asking you, our friends, partners and supporters, to consider making an annual gift.
My very first museum job was at a historic site fully funded by the county government. Everything we did was free to the public, and at the end of the year, there was always some money we had to spend or it would vanish. It was absolutely wonderful—and so easy! When I first arrived at Dallas Heritage Village, the shift to a business model that has diverse revenue streams was alarming at first. You mean my wonderful educational programs have to break even? We have to ask people for money? As the years have gone by, I’ve come to appreciate the opportunities that come with trying to make ends meet. We take risks with our programming. We’re open to new ideas. And we build wonderful relationships with our donors. We’re not solely supported by the government (though we certainly appreciate the funding we receive each year from the city of Dallas), but we are community supported history. Did you know one third of our annual budget comes directly from you through membership and contributions?
And it’s the time of year when we’re asking the community to step forward so that we can finish this year strong and begin next year even stronger. In the last year, we’ve truly been a hub of activity. Over 19,000 school children explored pioneer life, 3,400 revelers celebrated the holiday season at Candlelight, and the Train Depot was renovated to include a new hands-on exhibit for our almost 50,000 visitors to ride the rails back in time. The neighborhood around the Village is changing too. This year we welcomed several new neighbors including the future home of the McKinney Avenue Contemporary (The MAC) and Cedars Union artist incubator. Because of generous supporters like you, Dallas Heritage Village is able to move the past forward every day for thousands of people in our community and remain a central part of the redeveloping Cedars neighborhood.
I treasure the relationships we’ve built with each and every one of you—whether you’re a donor, a member, a participant in programs or simply follow us from afar. I wish history was free, but we need your support for both big things—like repairing the Blum House or installing a new exhibit in the Bank–and the small things—like wildflower seeds for the Valley or shoes for Nip and Tuck.
I’m still not great at asking people for money, but we have big dreams and I know there are people out there that want to help us achieve those dreams. Will you help us move the past forward?