LANCASTER – The Antelope Valley Rural Museum received a welcome boost recently when Destination Lancaster donated $5,000 to help the museum expand its historical preservation efforts under a new roof at the AV Fairgrounds.
In addition to AVRM officers, on hand at the fairgrounds for the check presentation were representatives from Destination Lancaster, as well as AV Fair board members.
Destination Lancaster brings together representatives of the city, the AV Fair and Events Center, the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, and the Lancaster hotel industry. These partners work to create and improve tourism opportunities in the city. It is funded by tourism taxes levied by member hotels.
“We are pleased to make this donation to the Antelope Valley Rural Museum as a way of honoring the rich history of our region,” said Sandy Smith executive director of Destination Lancaster.
“Once completed, AVRM’s new home will be of great interest to residents and to tourists well into the future. We are proud to be a small part of making this experience possible.”
While the museum, now in the Agriculture Building at the fairgrounds, remained closed under COVID-19 guidelines, a new building went up in the southwestern area of the fairgrounds. Work continues on this new museum building and donations are gratefully accepted by AVRM officers and board members.
“Community is the key word,” said AVRM financial officer Bill Rawlings. “This museum was founded by the grassroots efforts of several members of our community in an effort to preserve the rich and diverse history of our valley. The nonprofit AVRM is 100% run by community volunteers and 100% financed by donors from the community. To be recognized by the Visitors Bureau – Destination Lancaster – as a worthwhile destination is rewarding and gives credibility to our efforts.
“We are fortunate to be located on the AV Fairgrounds, a community events center, since our formation. We are grateful to the Antelope Valley Fair Association and Friends of the AV Fair for giving us a place to exhibit and room to grow.
“Most recently they partnered with us to build our new 12,000-square-foot museum, and helped with our fundraising efforts to construct the structure and move forward with completion of the interior of the building, including electrical, HVAC, plumbing, fire and interior walls,” Rawlings said.
The Rural Museum, which began in 2005 as the Rural Olympics Hall of Fame, is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history of the Antelope Valley. Exhibits include aerospace, military, farming, mining, and pioneers, settlers and explorers, as well as first responders. The museum is entirely operated by volunteers and all artifacts were donated or are on loan.
“The AVRM is grateful for the generous donation from Destination Lancaster,” said Giovanni Simi, chairman of the AVRM board. “The current challenges with not being able to open the museum keep it out of the public’s eye. Receiving the support of Destination Lancaster not only gives an infusion of cash, it also helps to extend the commitment from our community to continue growing the museum.”