Sherman city leaders voted unanimously Monday night to continue funding for the Sherman Museum going into the new fiscal year.
Members of the council approved $50,000 in funding, with an additional $20,000 available if the Museum can match these funds with private donations.
This marks the second year that the city has required the museum to raising matching funds in order to receive the full offered funding.
“My thoughts on what the contract from last year are that it caused us to really look at our finances and see where we can save money, and the citizens have been more interested as well,” Museum Board Chair Dickie Gerig said.
In Sept. 2019, the city announced that it would provide $50,000 — down from the $70,000 it provided one year prior —in order to help fund the museum. In order to receive the final $20,000, the museum would need to raise its own $20,000 to match it.
The funding cut represented the culmination of several years of efforts by the city to reduce the museum’s reliance on city coffers, officials said at the time.
“They proposed this one last year and it is the same contract as last year,” Gerig said Tuesday. “We were a little upset, but we were just grateful to get the money.”
Following the funding cut, Gerig said she saw an outpouring of support from the community, with several businesses offering to run fundraisers to raise the funds.
Ultimately, the museum was able to raise about $16,000 through about four large fundraisers.
“We were getting ready for the next big fundraiser when COVID came, so everything got canceled,” Gerig said.
The pandemic forced the museum to shut its doors temporarily, but the longer lasting impact could be the its fundraising efforts. Gerig said the museum has gotten by, partially by dipping into its savings.
In addition to the pandemic, Geig said the museum had several unanticipated expenses this year, including window repairs to a second building, air conditioning repair and a new roof.
“We didn’t quite have enough before the city contract, and we didn’t know what they were going to do,” she said. “We hope to raise enough money that we can repay our savings account.”
However, at the same time, the museum found ways to reduce its expenses, including power and phone bills. Likewise, the museum staff were given time during the pandemic to follow up on needed maintenance and side projects, including the creation of a new research room.
Despite the difficulties in 2020, Gerig said she hopes to continue the momentum the museum saw at the beginning of the year and carry into 2021.