Summary: The Denmark Historical Society is seeking to establish a fund to purchase artifacts pertinent to the history of Denmark which may come available primarily at auctions of house contents or on on-line auction sites.
Organization Description and History: In 1989 the Denmark Historical Society was organized to coordinate the efforts of a group of residents who demonstrated an interest in the History of Denmark. They wised to encourage broad participation in the preservation and enjoyment of the town’s rich heritage.
More specifically, the goals of the Society are to collect and preserve historical memorabilia and important records relating to the town.
Background: The recent auction of house contents in town brought our problem into focus. There were many records and items auctioned that would have added nicely to the Historical Society collection and thereby been available to anyone interested in Denmark’s history. We have no mechanism in place to select which items should be purchased, how much money should be available for such purchases and who should decide which items to purchase.
This problem is complicated by the success of on-line auction sites. Many individuals are making a business of finding and buying memorabilia that they can sell on EBay or other internet sites. These individual were bidding at this auction and the Society had to watch Denmark history leave our town, perhaps forever.
The donation of the Community House Stage Curtain dating from 1903, to Centennial Hall is another example of the need for an acquisition fund. The mural painted on this curtain is of a saw mill near the dam. Fortunately for all, the preservation of the curtain will be done by the owner of Centennial Hall and the curtain will remain in town. But had not this generosity been available and the curtain put up for sale, the Society would very likely not have been able to purchase and preserve it.
We cannot predict these events and need a fund that can be quickly accessed to buy and save Denmark history.
Project Description: When an artifact becomes available there is a need for the Society to be agile and decisive in its acquisition. For example, if records from a Denmark mill come up for sale on EBay, the board does not have time to meet, discuss the merits of the purchase, and determine how much should be spent if agreement for the purchase is reached. The same holds true for local auctions.
The Board will establish guidelines for the intrinsic value of items to the Society’s collection, the limits to physical size (we do not have storage for carriages or equipment), the amount of money to be spent without Board approval, the individual responsible for the decision to buy and a procedure to quickly obtain Board approval should such be needed.
Budget: The Historical Society would like to raise a fund of $5,000 and to maintain this amount through fund raising, but mostly through outreach to members of the community. Monies for this fund would not come from our General Fund.