by Rachael Bogema
Our yellow cones are packed, our water stations are dry, thirty dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts have been eaten, and our museum’s 14th Annual Relic Run 5K is over. This year’s race was a resounding success- over 250 runners and supporters journeyed out to the museum on Saturday morning, our largest turnout in the history of the event. I am still overwhelmed by the response we received from our race sponsors, volunteers, and participants. Their donations, help, and kind words are the sole reason for the success of the Relic Run each year, and the large response is a true testament not only to the success of this single event, but the success of the many special events that the C.H. Nash Museum has hosted over the past few years.
If you were not already aware, we are a fairly small museum in terms of budget, staffing, and physical space. We are not a small museum in terms of vision, ambition, or mission. As a result, our special events multitask as both sources of entertainment for our participants and as venues for the fulfillment of our larger mission. For example, the Relic Run allowed over 250 individuals to enjoy Saturday’s beautiful weather while taking in the museum’s scenery, exhibits, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The Relic Run also inspired many individuals to make their first trip out to Chucalissa in several years, some for the first time. Almost forty students from Youth Villages participate in the race each year as a reward for good behavior. After the race, the students take a guided tour of the museum and grounds, as well as engage in our Native American Music program. To the students, this seems like a fun way to spend a sunny Saturday morning. To us, this provides a perfect opportunity to engage school age children with our educational programming and participatory experiences, a direct goal of our mission.
We recently hosted another event at the museum, with similar intentions and successes. “Celebrating Black History in the Military” took place at the C.H. Nash Museum, but was coordinated by members of the Friends of T.O. Fuller State Park and the Westwood Neighborhood Association. Dozens of visitors, many of them veterans, came out to watch films and take part in discussions based on cultural heritage and experience. As with the Relic Run, part of this event’s success was that we had plenty of visitors who enjoyed our museum and engaged with the discussions on cultural heritage. The event was successful on an entirely different level, however, when you consider the fact that the event coordinators, as well as many of the event’s participants, are members of the museum’s surrounding community who have become stakeholders in the museum’s mission and development. As a result of their continued engagement with this and other special projects and events at the museum over the past few years, these individuals feel it is their duty not only to participate in our events, but to deliberately aid in their success.
This engaged audience is a concept that not only fulfills our mission, but is crucial in the development and execution of our special events, both large and small. We could not host any of our events, or even keep the museum running, without the help of our dedicated volunteers, stakeholders, and visitors. If you are interested in volunteering for any of our upcoming special events, or just volunteering at the museum in general, please feel free to contact us – we would love to have you! As for the Relic Run, the countdown has begun for our 15th annual event next March, so start training!
Rachael Bogema, Administrative Associate, C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa