Message from the Director – April 21, 2020

Happy Spring everyone,

I hope this letter finds you all well, healthy, and working on all the projects that get bumped to end of your “To Do” list.

The NHS team is doing our part to stop the spread the of virus. Staff work at the NHS and from home on alternate days, and our dedicated docents are sheltering in place while conducting virtual meetings. We are continuing to answer research and photography requests and working to get more information for public access on our website and PastPerfect online.

We follow Governor Sisolak’s guidance and directives on when we will return to work, open to the public, and trim budgets. This last directive to trim budgets has hit all Nevadans, and the NHS is no exception. We have always been a lean and fit operation, so our main budget cuts will be to defer hiring vacant positions.

What this means for the NHS, is we will be relying even more on generous donations of time and money from our supporters. In each of the last 3 years our docents and volunteers have donated over 10,000 hours of time to the NHS—this is equal to 5 full-time positions. We simply could not accomplish all the “back of the house” work that makes our collections accessible or offer the wide variety of educational programming without their help!

Many of you have supported us with tax-deductible material donations: printers, ink, computers, shelving, books, museum cabinets, and more. We are working to augment our donor base and are in the process of creating a Friends of the Nevada Historical Society 501(c)(3). This will allow us to pursue new grants and funding from endowments.

We need your financial support even more! We do rely on cash donations for our public programming and other vital operations. Because of the generous donation of 2.1 million dollars from the Tacchino Trust in 2016—the largest donation made to any of the 7 state museums—we have been able to provide expanded public programming, hire project-specific experts, and purchase an historically important postcard collection.

The NHS Tacchino bequest enables us to realize our dream for larger and centrally located facility downtown. This needed dream is almost a reality—due to the COVID-19 pandemic we had to move the signing of the papers from March to June 2020. While we have the funds to move forward with the purchase, we are examining our budget to ensure we will have the funds for the operational costs of a facility that is 3 times larger than the current NHS building.

I remain extremely optimistic for all things NHS related! We are the little engine that could, and you—our stalwart supporters—are the inspiration and fuel for our engine!

I thank each and everyone one of you for everything you do for the Nevada Historical Society and giving the NHS family the privilege of serving you and enriching our community.

Catherine Magee, Ph.D.
NHS Director