The public campaign to build a new museum in Detroit Lakes kicked off in a big way with a successful one-day phone-a-thon Nov. 19.
Becky Mitchell, the Becker County History Museum's executive director, reported that volunteers and staff collected more than $150,000 in pledges, exceeding the eight-hour goal of $100,000 by roughly 50%. Pledges ranged from $20 to $25,000.
Mitchell thanked all involved with the project, including event volunteer coordinator Beth Pridday, who challenged the team of 25 volunteers to share their personal enthusiasm for the $6.4 million project.
Museum volunteer Kathy Coyle broadcast repeatedly throughout the day on multiple Leighton Broadcasting radio stations. The Detroit Lakes Public Library and La Barista each provided remote phone-a-thon locations as well, with museum volunteers John and Connie Wood acting as hosts for these events.
Mitchell noted that the private fundraising campaign for the new museum has netted $3.2 million toward the $6.4 million anticipated overall cost, and while a formal request has been filed with the Minnesota State Legislature for an additional $3 million in state bonding funds, competition for those bonding dollars is intense, so volunteers will continue to assist staff in raising money locally.
"We're not done (fundraising)," Mitchell said, adding that the capital campaign will need to continue in order to make the planned 2020 groundbreaking possible.
The new museum, slated to begin construction in fall 2020, will be attached to the Historic Holmes Theater. The theater and museum will share a handicap accessible entry and lobby, as well as some joint staffing and a heating and cooling system that was built to serve the museum, theater and adjacent community center; expanded, interactive displays, storage areas and classrooms; a learning lab and research library; a recording studio to create archived interviews; a gift and coffee shop; staff offices and much more.
Naming rights for the new facility are still available to museum donors. Many businesses, individuals and families have already stepped forward with sizable donations that will be memorialized through recognition, Mitchell added.