Dear Bishop Museum ‘Ohana,
I’m writing to all of you together — our Staff, Board, BMAC members, and Volunteers.
As we announced yesterday, in the best interest of our greater community, we have made the decision to temporarily close the Museum in response to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. While we continue to do our best working under the circumstances and conditions of closure, I’d like us each to consider taking a little time to reflect.
This Museum is a great museum. It has been here for over 130 years, and it is what it is, because of the people who have made it, and continue to make it great. We are stewards of more than half of the world’s natural and cultural heritage of Hawai’i and the Pacific, which covers more than a third of the planet. People need to know this.
In a year’s time, I don’t want to be accused of not asking for help. We need help, and we need help now.
Over the past four years, we have pulled ourselves out of the red and into the black. We have been through the financial crisis of 2008, the loss of federal earmarks, decreases in public funding, and a decade of furloughs. We just started to settle into financial stability, and we have big and important plans for the future. We’ve made great progress in building support at many levels and I’m very optimistic about our future, as I know we all are.
But we are at a very tenuous place. The ransomeware attack which hit us on November 18 has been both a financial and operational setback. The Coronavirus comes on the heels of this attack and we have yet to face the full impact of it. What we know is that the closure of the Museum significantly reduces our income at a time when we need to be building our cash reserves. In order to pursue our mission, we will be doing everything we can to both reduce costs and continue to actively pursue all sources of support. Our staff has already begun donating their own extra hours to a sick leave pool and vacation pool to be used if other staff need it. The pure aloha shown by our ‘Ohana continues to be tremendous.
We need to keep thinking creatively and one thing that I hope you will help us with, is telling us your personal story, about your connection with Bishop Museum. I know that each of you who are part of our ‘Ohana are here for a reason. At this moment in time, we would like to tell your stories as part of our case for support. I would like the public to know who is part of our ‘Ohana, and why Bishop Museum matters.
I know this will take a little of your time, but if you can reflect— please consider telling us anything of the below, but mainly what is most important to you:
- Who you are, where you’re from, what you do
- How/why you’re part of Bishop Museum’s ‘Ohana
- What is most important to you about Bishop Museum, or a specific story about how Bishop Museum has impacted you or someone you know
- Also, please send us a picture of yourself and/or something from the Museum that is special to you
*Submit your story via our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XDGSYV8 and email connie.wong@bishopmuseum any accompanying files, such as images, links to videos, etc.
If each of you have a friend or family member who is an extension of our ‘Ohana who can send us their story, we will double our stories. You’d be surprised at how powerful a simple story can be. And the sooner you can do this the better.
Lastly, if you are so inclined, those of you who may be able, please support us with a monetary donation today to help us continue the important work we do here behind the scenes, conserving our precious materials, and conducting groundbreaking research.
Thank you for your time and unending support,
*NOTE: By completing this survey, you are giving the museum permission to post your story, first name, and museum affiliation (as provided in the survey), as well as any images or videos you share with us, on our social media, website, and blog platforms. No information will be given to third parties.