The year 2020 has been a roller coaster of a year! In 20 or so years from now, we will be reading about 2020 in textbooks and perhaps even visiting museums whose exhibitions are centered on the events that occurred.
While 2020 was certainly a difficult time for individuals to navigate, it took a major toll on museums and heritage sites. Mandatory quarantine and closures meant that museums had to close and remain close for much of the spring and early summer. Not only did this affect any spring programming, it also had a major affect on summer programming.
Most museums and heritage sites rely on tourists, special events, programming and volunteers throughout the year in order to operate. This is especially true for small museums including Banting House. Of course, there is no denying the impact that the pandemic has had on all museums’ funding, but a lot of small and local museums are feeling the large financial impact as a result of mandatory closures.
Banting House museums have always relied heavily on donations (both monetary and in-kind), fundraising and volunteers to operate. Donations help daily operations, fundraising helps can help the acquisition, preservation and conservation of objects and collections and volunteers help with tours, programming, events and everything in between. Once museums and heritage sites are allowed to re-open these aspects will become even more vital as everyone tries to navigate in this new world.
What can you do to help your favourite museum or heritage site?
There are many ways to help out! If you are able to, you can donate financially through different funds, online crowdfunds, or through Giving Tuesday campaigns.
But what is Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday often known as #GivingTuesday is an online movement with the aim of helping charities, museums, institutions and programs around the world. It is the first Tuesday after the American Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday holidays. Giving Tuesday is meant to start off the giving and holiday season. Charities and organizations from around the world create campaigns and goals to help raise funds for a variety of initiatives. Given that many charities and organizations have been severely impacted by closures, this year’s Giving Tuesday on December 1st is even more important.
Banting House National Historic Site has created a campaign for Giving Tuesday centered on the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the idea of insulin. We are hoping to acquire 100 donors at $25 dollars in honour of the anniversary and the number of words in Dr. Banting’s hypothesis for insulin. Like many museums, Banting House has been impacted by closures. These donations will help ensure that we continue to create public awareness and understanding of the national historic significance of Sir Frederick Banting and preserves the commemorative integrity of Banting House, the birthplace of insulin, for the benefit of the people of Canada.
However, monetary donations aren’t the only way you can help your favourite museums!
Volunteers are also an integral part of many charities, organizations and museums! Not only will you be able to help your favourite museum or site, you also gain valuable skills that can be applied to future careers.
Volunteers at Banting House NHS help in a variety of ways including research, guiding tours, assisting with special events like our World Diabetes Day celebration, and writing for our blog!
Liking, commenting, sharing and interacting with a museum’s content on their social media is also another way to help them! Perhaps you are unable to donate or volunteer, but by sharing campaigns and posts you are helping spread the message to your friends and family who may be able to!
You can also help support Banting House all year round! Here are some other ways to help:
1. Donating to the Banting House Acquisition Fund. With this fund, we have been able to acquire significant items related to Banting’s life and career that were at risk of being lost, acquired by private collectors, or potentially leaving the country.
2. Purchasing a commemorative brick through our Brick Campaign.
3. Volunteering at Banting House NHS. Our volunteers deliver tours, assist with research, special events and programming!
As always, we want to thank our community, volunteers, donors, and sponsors for their continued support! We could not do this without you!
This post was written by Kat MacDonald, an intern at Banting House NHS. Kat is currently completing her M.A. in Public History at Western University.