From the Director’s Desk

Although not in our typical format,  the purpose of this modified newsletter is to bring you up to date on what we have been doing here at SCM during these most unusual times.

We closed our doors on March 14 and started working from home.  Since there was no telling if or when we could reopen in May, we decided to focus on designing programs that could be utilized by school-age children and parents for on-line learning.   I think we were successful in that area.  Heather Kisiliwicz, our new Assistant Director,  created a “History at Home” link on our website and facilitated ZOOM lectures by authors Christian McBurney and Robert Grandchamp who discussed their latest publications.  Both of these generous folks were slated to present lectures this summer, but…. They were most gracious with their time to help us.  In addition, photojournalist and documentary filmmaker Mark Starr filmed and edited a 30-minute introductory program on blacksmithing here at SCM.

It goes without saying school field trips were canceled; Family Day and the Taste of Summer Fundraiser went by the board.  Blacksmithing Camps for Kids and Adult Workshops were COVID casualties. We did hatch over 200 RI Red chicks thanks to Wayne Durfee and Don Nelson, but the public 4th of July Chick Hatch was not possible.  The Folk Art Quilt show was put on hold.  And needless to say, we lost four months of admission revenues.

BUT….WE DID OPEN!  (mid-July, only on Friday and Saturday) with buildings reconfigured to allow viewing from the doorways.  We are not opening the Metz Exhibit Hall because we cannot maintain the Department of Health’s cleaning guidelines for that space.

So, that’s where we are in the COVID Fall of 2020.   We will be open Fridays and Saturdays until the end of September.  Admission is free as our gift to the community for its support, but we appreciate a donation.

In closing, I would like to thank all of you who continued your memberships.    This year especially membership is an investment in history here in South County. I would also like to thank Lynn Wagner, our treasurer, for facilitating a PPP loan, the Champlin Foundation for a substantial COVID-Relief Grant,  and Rhode Island Council for Humanities for some COVID Relief monies.  We’re hanging on!

So stop by SCM during September. No bad news, no politics, just peace and quiet with history as your guide.  Stay safe.