More museums in the US than there are McDonalds and Starbucks combined…

"There are roughly 11,000 Starbucks locations in the United States, and about 14,000 McDonald's restaurants. But combined, the two chains don't come close to the number of museums in the U.S., which stands at a whopping 35,000."

A few years ago, there was a report conducted by an independent government agency, the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences sharing these statistics.  Of course, the numbers have shifted a bit in the current economic climate, but you have to admit that is an impressive statistic!  The data shared that the majority of museums are very small, nearly mom-and-pop organizations.  Of the nearly 25,000 museums with income data reported, 15,000 reported an annual income of less than $10,000 on their latest IRS returns.

Although we do have one McDonalds and one museum here in Caswell County, guess is that you probably frequent McDonald’s more than you go to the museum.  Right?

The Caswell County Historical Association (CCHA) invites you to consider adding a regular visit to the Richmond-Miles Museum (also the birthplace of our own world-famous artist, Maude Gatewood), once things reopen from COVID-19.  During this down time, the organization has been working hard to position the museum as a vital part of the community so that Caswell County and surrounding folks can stop in regularly to see what new is happening there.

The role of museums in communities

Museums as a whole play a vital role in our society especially in small communities.  Approximately 26% of museums are in rural communities and according to the American Alliance of Museums 97% of Americans believe that museums are educational assets for their communities and 89% believe that museums contribute important economic benefits to their community.

Why you may want to visit the Richmond-Miles Museum

Although many tend to think that museums are boring and no fun bear with me a moment, just for kicks. Colleen Dilenschneider, a prominent researcher and a leader in nonprofit management recently posted article regarding reasons to visit museums. For small museums like ours, these reasons hit home:

Museums need us…supporting the museum through volunteering, attending an event through membership or philanthropic support – supports our community and ‘giving back’ to our community allows the museum to continue and prosper for us all.

Visiting a museum is a great way to spend time with friends or family.  Consider a visit with an aging parent, aunt or uncle, spouse, or young children or grandkids.

Museums help us all to learn and they also inspire us.  There are so many unique stories to be shared inside the walls.  The inspiration to even consider how our ancestors made it by without electricity and the modern conveniences is truly uplifting!

The Caswell County Historic Association & Richmond-Miles Museum, is just one of the many nonprofit organizations that make Caswell County a special place to live.  The organization relies on memberships and donations to continue to operate. The CCHA recently had its annual meeting wherein the new officers and plans for the future were discussed.  Newly elected officers come to the organization providing a fresh approach and new ideas as to how the organization can continue to move forward yet respect the work already done.  Under the leadership of Board President, Jeff Nidle, the board members bring to the table a unique skill set.  Having such a rich history of previous board members keeping the organization intact, it will be exciting to see this current group build on that solid foundation. A new website is in the works and an experienced museum curator is already in the process of cataloging the numerous items housed in the facility.  New directions to work with local students have been topics of discussion as well as different approaches to fundraising.  Members of the CCHA receive an incredibly detailed quarterly newsletter that is much more than a ‘traditional’ newsletter.  The editor does amazing work in researching the individual townships/regions of Caswell County and shares that with readers.  She takes the time to interview individuals and reports their stories to the membership for their enjoyment. 

If you are looking for a way to get involved in your community, the CCHA is definitely worth a look.  It is a good place for all our community to take part and make an impact in how we work together to preserve and share our heritage.  Tours are free.  Membership is only $25 a year and can connect you to this wonderful place of Caswell that we enjoy calling home.  So, when it is safe to reopen after COVID-19, please take a moment to visit this Caswell Chamber of Commerce Member, CCHA.

As published in The Caswell Messenger August 5, 2020

Written by AC Hodges

To help promote the businesses and organizations of the area, the Caswell County Chamber of Commerce partners with The Caswell Messenger by submitting articles twice a month about MEMBER organizations. Any member is able to have an article, which they may approve before submitting and there is no cost for the service.  Organizations need only contact the Chamber and request to be scheduled to be a part of this program.