As 2018 draws to a close, I wish to acknowledge everyone who contributed to our many successes. Thanks to all of you – our members, donors, visitors, community partners, volunteers, staff, and board members – this past year has been one of positive change and growth. During the year we presented memorable exhibitions and public programs, and developed a new strategic plan to guide us in our efforts to strengthen our exhibitions and programs, improve the visitor experience, increase community outreach, and build capacity.
Notably, we revised our name and mission statement to represent our new philosophical direction. The change from plural (Museums of Sonoma County) to singular (Museum of Sonoma County) acknowledges our new identity as one museum for art and history. With two buildings and a sculpture garden, plus plans to expand in the future, our museum is well positioned to explore the dynamic relationship between art and history as well as our connections to the community. To this point, our current exhibition From the Fire: A Community Reflects and Rebuilds was organized to present multiple stories and perspectives on our shared experience of the 2017 wildfires. By looking at last year’s fires from both historical and artistic perspectives, we can better understand and appreciate the impact of the fires and the resilience and strength of our community. In fact, our efforts have been recognized by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and we have been invited to give a presentation about The Fire Project at the 2019 AAM national convention in New Orleans in May.
Here are some other highlights that made for a very eventful and successful year for the Museum of Sonoma County. The annual Artistry in Wood exhibition, presented in collaboration with the Sonoma County Woodworkers Association, celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. Our annual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) exhibition was hugely successful and its Family Day was our most well attended events of the year. We presented Lost Santa Rosa in coordination with the 150th anniversary of Santa Rosa, and used the occasion to also establish a new collaboration with the Historical Society of Santa Rosa. The exhibition Time & Place explored human impact and the environment while Bear in Mind took a look back at the origins of the California Grizzly and our state’s flag. And, 3 Friends, with artwork by Robert Hudson, Richard Shaw, and Jack Stuppin, presented three important artists from Sonoma County in a rare combination that highlighted the relationships that are so important to artists.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this past year is the continuation and growth of our public and educational programs. Every day here at the Museum of Sonoma County we see the powerful ways that museums bring people together. Our galleries come alive with exhibitions, school tours, gallery talks, concerts, book signings, panel discussions, and so much more. In all, we presented over 50 public programs and events, which gave the community many different opportunities to access the Museum. Over 3,000 students participated in our school tours, hands-on workshops, Fire Wall workshops, and summer art program.
Donations from friends like you are essential to our success. Your tax-deductible contribution has a direct impact on our mission to engage and inspire our diverse community with art and history exhibitions, collections, and public programs that are inclusive, educational, and relevant.
Thank you very much for your support throughout the year and now at year’s end. We wish you and yours a healthy, happy, and successful 2019!