By Aubrey Hobart
Curator of Collections
Roswell Museum and Art Center
The winter holidays are fast approaching: A time to celebrate religious, cultural and secular traditions with the people we care about. During this period, we evaluate the previous year, offer thanks for all the good things in our lives, and connect with our most generous spirit. We give gifts to our family and friends to show them that we care. We leave extra tips for service workers like hairstylists and delivery drivers to show our appreciation for their assistance over the course of the year. Many people also give to charity during the holidays to support those less fortunate or bolster a cause that they feel strongly about. This year, much of our giving will have to be at a distance, but it’s still a good way to share the holiday spirit.
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There are many reasons why people choose to donate to charity. First, giving just feels good; it is empowering to know that you’re in a position to help others in need, no matter the amount. Second, giving tends to reaffirm and strengthen our principles. By putting your money where your mouth is, you’re taking action that reflects your moral stance. Giving is also an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of generosity and participation in public life. It allows you to share your values with your children, grandchildren, or other young people in your life, and encourages other adults to donate as well. Donors may also have a personal connection to the cause or institution that they’re supporting or may just wish to be part of something bigger. All of these are valid reasons to give.
If you haven’t decided where your donations will go this year, please consider supporting your local museums. According to the American Alliance of Museums, one-third of all American museums are at a significant risk of closing permanently within the next year, unless their members and donors make an effort to support them during the pandemic. A little cash will go a long way in keeping our cultural treasures safe in our communities.
In Roswell, you have several institutions to choose from:
The Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art (AMoCA) collects art made by the fellows of the Roswell Artist-in-Residence program. AMoCA has over 50 years’ worth of art that was made right here in our community by artists from around the world. Funding AMoCA helps support contemporary artists who are the producers of culture in our modern world.
The Miniatures and Curious Collections Museum is a fun institution in town that displays toys, doll houses, and the unusual personal collections of Roswell’s residents. They are currently raising funds for a new roof that will help protect all their unique local treasures.
The Roswell Museum and Art Center (RMAC) has collected the art and history of New Mexico for 83 years. In 1937, in the midst of the Great Depression, Roswell’s residents made an extraordinary effort to have an art and archaeology museum built for the benefit of the community. RMAC’s survival is based on the generosity of generations of Roswellians. You have the opportunity to continue that legacy with your contributions.
Donating to a local institution has other benefits as well. You would be contributing to the cultural and scientific education of the school-aged children in Roswell, helping them grow into informed and engaged citizens of the world. Thriving museums also attract tourists, driving tourism dollars into our local businesses and city government. Your contribution would not only allow us to produce exhibits and programs that attract out-of-town visitors, but would likely be doubled in the community when those tourists stay in local hotels, eat at local restaurants and buy souvenirs.
If you’re wondering how best to donate, the RMAC is in the middle of its big annual membership drive right now. We’re adding to our community of people who love history, art, science, education and culture. If that sounds like you, and you’d like to join a network of similarly minded people, you can check out the benefits of membership at roswell-nm.gov/389/become-a-member. They include free admission to the museum and planetarium, discounts on classes and in our museum store, a subscription to Museum Magazine, and invitations to exclusive events and programs.
We understand that money is tight for many people this year, so if you cannot contribute financially, that doesn’t mean you can’t give. Rather than financial donations, many institutions will appreciate the gift of your time. We have many volunteer opportunities available at the museum. You could also subscribe to us on social media: @rmacroswell on Facebook or @rmacroswellnm on Instagram. By engaging with our content, leaving comments and likes, or simply enjoying our posts, you’re helping us reach a larger audience.
However you choose to celebrate this winter, the staff of the Roswell Museum and Art Center hopes that you have a happy and healthy holiday season. We appreciate the generosity and support of the Roswell community and look forward to serving you all for generations to come.