Fort Walla Walla Museum serves two significant roles in our community: the noble task of being the primary organization responsible for discovering, preserving and sharing the rich heritage that makes our region special; and an economic engine. Each year, tourists who visit the museum spend around $2.5 million locally.
Most of us can think of multiple values related to understanding history. My favorite way history impacts lives is through the connections it makes. I am fortunate to be able to serve as a volunteer in the museum’s free school tour program, sponsored by Boise Inc.’s Wallula Mill, Pacific Power, several local trusts and foundations, and a small army of volunteers. This program serves nearly 5,000 participants annually.
Whether a child was born here or their family has relocated to our region, they have become part of our ongoing history. When we introduce children to their heritage, they develop a sense of place and belonging. When we share stories of the contributions made to our community and nation by people who grew up here, it helps our kids build a “can do” attitude. Strong connections and confidence produce community-minded citizens who then become tomorrow’s volunteers, employees, and leaders.
To continue to remain strong the museum needs our help. During the recession, my wife and I have increased our cash contributions and I have invested more of my time as a volunteer.
I share my passion for history with hundreds of school children each year. I assist with projects to maintain and enhance the museum’s buildings and grounds, and help build new exhibits; the museum has opened more than 75 new or updated exhibits in the last four years.
Contributions to the museum’s Annual Fund support many programs and services. While several of the museum’s revenue streams continue to be negatively impacted by the recession, increases in giving to the Annual Fund by museum partners have filled some of the gap.
It has been my honor and privilege to serve as an active volunteer and president of the Board of Directors of Fort Walla Walla Museum. Please join me in supporting the museum’s mission by donating your time and/or a financial gift to the Annual Fund and shopping in the Museum Store.
Robert L. Stevenson