July 4, 1776. The signing of the Declaration of Independence. Two hundred thirty years later we celebrate with parades, picnics and fireworks. We display the American flag and sing the National Anthem. But how do we know why we celebrate? What has kept this observation going for so many years? From the National Archives to local museums, and even to families, it is those who preserve history that keep us aware of our past.

Museums are not always high on the list of priorities when it comes to financial support. Many other appeals seem more urgent. Yet it is only through financial support that museums at all levels can be repositories for the history we so cherish. On July 3, while preparing for the Fourth of July, the finance committee of the Morrison County Historical Society was meeting to determine the budget for 2007. Approximately one-third of the Society’s budget is provided by the County. Because the County budget process begins in July, the Society must also prepare its budget. The remaining two-thirds of funds must come from memberships, donations, grants and other sources. Grants are seldom available for general operating funds. Most are for specific projects and require matching funds from the recipient. Also, with more and more non-profits being formed, the money pie for grants is getting more divided. As you might guess, with prices of utilities, services and products constantly increasing, the budget process can be a hand-wringing experience.

We at the Morrison County Historical Society have something else to celebrate. For seventy years the people of Morrison County, as well as members from throughout the United States (and even from other continents), have supported the Society. It cannot be emphasized strongly enough what that support means. It is you, the member and donors, whose support provides the needed funds to pay the monthly bills. Please continue to renew your membership and, if you can, consider contributing at a higher level. Your partnership in preserving Morrison County history is not only appreciated, it is crucial. Thank you so much.

By Jan Warner
Copyright 2006, Morrison County Historical Society

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