Port Huron Museums to host 2nd annual fundraising telethon for innovative visible storage project

As is often the case with museums the world over, there is always more than meets the eye — and we mean that in the best way possible. Items seen on the museum floor are but a fraction of the artifacts a museum might have in its collection, the majority of which is stored away for archival purposes, special exhibits, and future plans.

The Port Huron Museums organization is no different. For all the great things to discover at their Carnegie Center, Thomas Edison Depot, Lightship Huron, and Fort Gratiot Light Station locations, Port Huron Museums has plenty more stored away, waiting for the chance to see the light of day.

A new trend in the museum world could help change that. It’s called “visible storage,” a way for museums to safely store their artifacts while still offering museum-goers the opportunity to get a sneak peek at what’s happening behind the scenes. Port Huron Museums is hoping to get on board with the new trend and a planned fundraising event should help make it happen.

“We are pursuing a visible storage project, with the goal of transforming the basement of the Carnegie Center into a visible storage space. This means that we would have glass cases filled with artifacts from our collections storage, moved out into the public eye,” says Kayla Wendt, curator of collections and exhibits for Port Huron Museums.

“The goal of visible storage is really two-fold: to enhance our storage opportunities by adding more space for historical artifacts, while also giving the public the chance to get a ‘behind the scenes’ look at many of our pieces which may not currently be on exhibit, but can still be seen and appreciated in visible storage cases.”

To help make it happen, Port Huron Museums will be hosting their second annual Giving Tuesday Community Telethon. On Tuesday, Nov. 30, on what’s become known as Giving Tuesday — the Tuesday following Thanksgiving weekend each year — the museum will go live on their Facebook page for an eight-hour broadcast, featuring entertainment provided by members of the community. A tentative schedule includes Port Huron’s Beard King Facial Hair Pageant, the Ruboo Boutique Fashion Show, and a performance from Caleb Malooley from local rock band the Gasoline Gypsies.

Last year’s inaugural telethon was a huge success, says the museum, and raised nearly $20,000 as the organization turned to the community as it searched for new ways to stay open during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s telethon will help the museum purchase 10 professional glass storage cases, which cost approximately $600 each. Additional funds raised will help preserve other items in the museum’s collection, a collection of artifacts that numbers in the tens of thousands.

“The Port Huron Museum has been so lucky to be a repository for some really important and fascinating pieces of local history over the years. We continue to acquire donations daily,” Wendt says. “Our collection is still growing, and so we sought out this solution as a means to maximize space for storing incoming and existing pieces, while we also spread out the collection for people to enjoy, even when not on permanent exhibit.”

The Giving Tuesday Community Telethon is scheduled to begin at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 30, and will be broadcast live on the Port Huron Museums Facebook page. Visit the museum website for updates on the performers, sponsorship opportunities, and more.