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Note from the Director: What I’m Thankful For

At this time of year, we are reminded to give thanks for the things we are grateful for. This year, as director of BHoF, I have been challenged as I never have before, and I am beyond thankful for the people who have faced those challenges with me: our staff, Weekender team, board, and you, our audience and fans worldwide.

I have to start with our staff, for whom keeping the museum running this year has been a daily struggle, even without the doors being open. We were just under 2 years in our current incarnation when the closures started this year, really only just hitting our stride as a cultural attraction when suddenly everything we’d worked on was threatened. Faced with a complete revision of what we could and must do to pursue our mission as a museum, our staff dived in, learning new skills, figuring out new ways to present the stories our museum tells, researching best practices for operation in aa health crisis, shifting work from the museum to their homes and back again, and doing everything the could to live up to the standards we’ve always held as a museum. So thank you to Buttercup (our program coordinator) and Darby Fox (our curator), and to Lindsey and Emmie, who both left in recent months to pursue the next steps in their respective careers (both of whom have continued on doing volunteer work).

Likewise, I am grateful for our all-volunteer Weekender team, led by Joyce Tang, who took the emotional essence of our live Weekender event, and somehow translated it to the virtual world. With little experience in online production, let alone for an event as grand and sweeping as our August “VHoF” turned out to be, they not only worked out the nuts and bolts of a successful broadcast event, but balanced the demands of BHoF’s mission and the pressure for real social change in the wake of the Lloyd, Taylor, and other racially-motivated murders this year. What they have done will shape our approach to event planning for years, both for in-person events and online events. Thank you to everyone on the Weekender team, for giving your time and talent so generously year after year.

Our board came together this year in the face of extreme financial and policy challenges. While other organizations laid off staff or closed altogether, our board did what they could to ensure we stayed afloat and maintained our staff as well as we could. In the process, we’ve built new relationships and strengthened our commitments as an organization. Thank you, board members.

And finally, I am grateful for you, our audience and patrons. The pandemic dealt us what could have been a crushing financial blow, but when we asked for help, you stepped up. Between April and June of this year, we raised over $65,000 in donations ranging from $5 to $10,000. Combined with federal relief like the Payroll Protection Program and state grants, your support has given us time to adapt to what we now see will be long-lasting and severe changes to the economy. Our survival as an organization has always depended on the support of the people we serve, but never has that been more obvious than 2020. Thank you all for your support!

The challenges we face are huge and far from over, as the US enters into the worst phase of this pandemic yet. We face powerful uncertainties, not knowing when we will be able to return to normal operation, when the local economy will begin to recover, or what government support will be available and when. With the future so frighteningly hazy, it is reassuring to know that we have a staff, production team, and board so passionate and so deeply committed to the future of this organization, and for that, I am supremely grateful.

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Burlesque Hall of Fame