The museum is in jeopardy due to a lack of ongoing funding.
One of the most distinctive and impressive buildings in downtown Devils Lake could be closing its doors in less than two years unless they find a funding source to keep the doors open.
The city’s former post office is the home of the Lake Region Heritage Center Museum where its continually growing collection of artifacts and memorabilia chronicles the history of the entire region and the people who made it unique.
Today this treasure trove of North Dakota history is in jeopardy due to a lack of ongoing funding.
Rachel Johnson, who has been director and curator of the museum since April 2016, sings the praises of the building, its style, prestige and all that is stored within its walls, whether on display or awaiting its turn.
But she is a realist, “This building is 107 years old and there are some issues that need to be addressed,” Johnson admits.
Money received from endowments have been the reserve fund for the museum, but that is nearly gone now.
According to LRHC board member, Lucas Wakefield, there’s enough money to keep the doors open for approximately 18 months but no longer than that.
They are seeking benefactors who want to help the museum thrive. “With community support we’ll be able to fix the roof, maybe put in an elevator for accessibility and develop the third floor into a hands-on learning space for learners of all ages,” Johnson said.
An ongoing funding source of gaming funds went away in 2008, since then the museum has depended upon memberships and fundraising galas to pay the bills.
Both the City of Devils Lake and Ramsey County kick in some each year, too. In Devils Lake’s budget for 2018 they are dedicating 1.5 mills or an estimated $26,300 paid to the museum in quarterly installments.
Ramsey County dedicates .25 mills or an estimated $13,300 to the LRHC.
Beyond that Johnson seeks grant funding wherever it is available but often those awards are to have very specific uses.
These sources of funding alone cannot sustain a staffed Heritage Center. For the center to remain open, staffs and maintain a building over a century old, we need our community’s support.
There is one full-time employee and one part-time employee all others at the museum are volunteers.