Rotary gives $250,000 boost to Marysville Historical Society

Rotary President Gordy Bjorg, left, presents Marysville Historical Society President Ken Cage with a $250,000 donation toward the societys proposed museum. -
Rotary President Gordy Bjorg, left, presents Marysville Historical Society President Ken Cage with a $250,000 donation toward the societys proposed museum.
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MARYSVILLE Staged early the morning of Feb. 29 in the Crystal Masonic Lodge on Fifth Street, the actual presentation was quick and to the point.
With the help of one of those oversized checks good for photo opps, Marysville Rotary President Gordy Bjorg presented the local historical society with a quarter-million dollar shot in the arm.
The $250,000 funding is aimed at the societys proposed $3 million museum.
Besides the check presentation, the morning also featured a keynote speech from Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, a big supporter of preserving the states heritage.
Its exciting, Marysville Historical Society President Ken Cage said of the Rotarys donation.
With the Rotary contribution and some others the society hopes to receive shortly, Cage believes fundraising for the proposed museum will top $1 million within the next few weeks.
Cage said the society already has purchased a spot for the museum on Armar Road near Jennings Memorial Park and plans to buy additional, adjacent property. Cage is hopeful a state grant will help planners meet their financial goals. The grant would match 50 percent of whatever the society is able to raise on its own.
With that in mind, Cage would love fundraising to reach $2 million by May, the deadline for the grant application. Cage also said he believes the society is in a good position to gain the grant. To write the grant proposal, planners have hired the consultant who helped pen the grant legislation.
It isnt the easiest thing to get out there and protect our history, Reed said, congratulating the local historical group for their efforts.
Government is, he noted, focused, often with good reason, on law, roads and schools.
What falls off the bottom of the table is history and preservation, Reed said, adding the ultimate goal is not just safeguarding artifacts, but giving young people a context for their community.
Reed obviously has a personal passion for history. In 2003, he noticed the arrival of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Washington territories. He asked around the state house about what might be being done to mark that occasion. The answer was a resounding silence and eventually Reed was put in charge of creating a memorial celebration.
Since then, Reed has successfully launched a campaign to add a Washington state historical museum to the capital campus in Olympia. Reed had long since noticed there was next to nothing marking the states history in the states capital. He added maintenance of the Washington state archives and state library are part of his duties as secretary of state.
With an opening planned for 2012, like the Marysville effort, the state museum still is in the planning and fundraising stages. In the case of the state institution, the legislature approved $112 million for the project in 2007. Planners hope to attract another $30 million in private donations.
Reed talked a lot about housing some four tons of books delivered to Olympia in 1854, along with, of course, various documents and other items gathered from around the Washington capital for over 150 years.
As for the Marysville museum, architect Scott Kirkland envisions a two-story building built from recycled materials and complete with multiple exhibit halls and meeting rooms.
Society trustee Steve Muller is the financial officer for the project and believes the fundraising goals set are achievable.
I really think this is doable or I wouldnt be standing here today, he said.

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