Akwesasne Museum Hosts Fundraiser Silent Auction


Akwesasne Cultural Center Board members and volunteers that put together the Silent Auction. L-R: Glory Cole - Director of the Cultural Center, Debbie Cook-Jacobs – Board Member, Emily Tarbell – Board Member, Irving Papineau – Board President, Sue Ellen Herne – Museum Program Coordinator, Laura McDonald – Collection Care for the Museum, and Mamie David – Community Volunteer.

On Thursday, October 15, 2015 the Akwesasne Cultural Center Board of Directors hosted an invitation-only Silent Auction at the Senior Center. The auction was the first of many events that will be held to raise funds for the Akwesasne Museum.

Board President Irving Papineau said, "It's not common knowledge that the museum works on a shoe-string budget. The library and museum are separate, and the monies cannot mix."

There were 42 items in the silent auction from baskets, quilts, beadwork, paintings and much more. Many of the items were made and donated by people that use the museum; teachers and students of the various classes they offer.

The event's refreshments included corn soup and sandwiches. The evening was also the premiere of the Akwesasne Museum's new postcard collection, another fundraising project of the board of directors.

Though it might be a seldom known that the museum runs on a shoe-string budget, it should be no secret that the current location of the museum is too small.

"We've had to decline donations because they were too large," noted Museum Program Coordinator Sue Ellen Herne.

This fundraiser was not for a new museum, only for the general operation budget of the museum; but the dream of a new museum continues.

Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Sub-Chief Cheryl Jacobs attended the event. She said, "I'm going to attend the next museum board meeting, which takes place in November. I want to start understanding how the museum operates and how it's overseen. I'm going to take a look at their proposal for a new sight. I want to advocate for it, and revive the project."

The Silent Auction had many beautiful items including a Fancy basket made by Judy Hemlock, a Round painting by Sosakete (Roger Perkins) and a Florence Benedict basket and video.

Museum Program Coordinator Sue Ellen Herne said, "I'm excited about the development of a new site. We are working in conjunction with the cultural tourism strategy. It would create jobs in the community and the people would learn more about their history and culture while working here. Also, a bigger giftshop would mean buying more from our artisans."

However as mentioned earlier, this fundraiser was not for a new museum, but for the general operating budget of the museum. Grants are not sufficient for operation, and the museum is on the verge of cutting hours, which would lead to cutting staff, something they are trying very hard to avoid.

So, be on the lookout for the next fundraising event for the Akwesasne Museum.

Irving Papineau added, "We want to thank everyone for their help and thank the people who donated items. We are hopeful that things improve, thank you for coming."


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