The staff of the Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village has been spared from contracting the coronavirus, but the organization has not been spared its economic impact. Staff has been furloughed and doors have been closed since mid-March.
With a dedicated cadre of volunteers who have fanned out through the spacious museum and village, this time has been used to refresh and refurbish facilities and exhibits to accommodate the changing culture of a post-pandemic museum experience.
With limited means, the organization has been building momentum for a reopening that will provide fresh ways to access and enjoy all of the aspects of a museum visit that have been the hallmark of the Delaware Agricultural Museum. From purely physical enhancements such as the renovated St. Thomas Methodist Episcopal Church, a freshly painted museum interior, new flooring in the atrium and circular gallery, and a new heating and air conditioning system, to virtual accessibility through a redesigned and invigorated website, the reopened museum will provide a modern experience in a historic setting.
An enhanced events schedule, once public access is again allowed, will take advantage of the spacious grounds and interior galleries to host large gatherings while adhering to social distancing protocols.
While much has been accomplished to accommodate the changing museum culture, there is still much to do and limited resources with which to do it. The generosity of the Delaware Legislature in its 2019 budget and funds from equally generous individual donors have supported much of the physical improvements mentioned above, but tough times are ahead and severe fiscal constraints are fast approaching.
The organization has embarked on a vigorous private fundraising effort to support Delaware’s agricultural heritage. Opportunities are available to sponsor renovations of the historic buildings in the1890s Village.
The 1980 Club commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village. For a donation of $1,980, supporters can help educate today’s generation about the importance of agriculture in Delaware’s history.
For more information or to donate, go to www.agriculturalmuseum.org/1980-club/.