When you have a nonprofit like the Riverside Museum Associates whose sole purpose is to promote and support the Museum of Riverside, and when said museum is closed due to a pandemic, what happens?

You might be surprised. A great effort was put forth by the members of the RMA in advocating for support of the museum renovation. We were pleased that we were able to be part of the voice that got this renovation moving forward. We will now take these same efforts to be cultural advocates for the rich history that makes Riverside unique. With the City facing hard decisions due to the change in income, it will be our job to make sure that people remember what makes Riverside the City people love.

In April 2020, the RMA applied for a $100,000 grant on behalf of the museum for Harada House. Unfortunately it was not funded but we have asked for insight on what they wanted and what would have made the application successful. Additionally the RMA gifted the museum $3500 to cover the freezing costs of collection items, $3500 for educational programming (bus grants), and has made, via the Heritage House donated funds for house restoration, a commitment of $20,000 to research, conserve, and recover the Bettner family parlor furniture. To date, $16,000 has been paid on that project. The balance will be used for the physical recovering and for the trim materials required to complete the work. Prior to this, the same fund covered the $7,000 cost of the fabric for the project.

We are also in the process of revising our Bylaws to update them, make them clearer, and to consider other changes. We still have an election of new officers by the general membership to conduct. We are hopeful that we will be able to complete these tasks and do a general membership mailing for voting in the coming months. The spring fundraising mailing was also put on hold due to the insensitivity of asking for money when people were being furloughed or found themselves out of work. We will keep a finger to the pulse and try for a fall or late summer mailing.

Fundraising is a very important part of the purpose of the RMA. With the renovation looming in the future, the Museum will immerse itself in all the programming needs and collections needs. There are plans to present a virtual museum in the interim so that their wonderful education programs and collections will still be available to the public.

Next to fundraising, volunteering is another strong suit of the RMA. The volunteers of the Multicultural Council of the RMA have continued to virtually meet and are well into plans for the Day of Inclusion event in December. The venue will be the new library. Although the one museum site that was open to the public, Heritage House, is closed, the docents and docent leaders—all RMA volunteers–are still busy. They are trying to keep this site in the public eye via Facebook. They have shared historic information about Riverside and about the period the house represents, updates on the house, other activities that our members have been involved in, etc. The Docents are primed to get back to sharing the house with the public and have been brainstorming new ways to conduct tours and sharing both reasonable and outrageous thoughts with the museum director. Rest assured that as soon as the City reactivates the volunteer program, the RMA docents will be ready.