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#GivingTuesday – Try On History
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year’s #GivingTuesday will take place on Nov. 27 and will kick off the giving season by inspiring people to give back to their communities by making a gift to a non-profit organization whose works adds to the quality of life to your community. MOSTHistory is one of those community organizations that would appreciate your consideration of a #GivingTuesday gift to support its Try On History Project.
On occasion trained staff and volunteers at the Museum of South Texas History wear reproduction-level costumes to convey information about life in the past and to add to the immersive experience found at the museum. Simpler costume elements that can be tried on by visitors also enhance their experience by allowing them to interact with objects and place themselves in the past. Reproduction level costumes can be expensive to purchase or create. A study conducted in the U.S. and U.K. noted that high level investment in quality reproduction costumes, coupled with extensive training, produced the best results for visitor learning via costumed interpretation. MOSTHistory strives to offer the best visitor experience possible and plans to continue adding both complete reproduction costumes and visitor try-on costumes.
In 2015, the museum started an annual fundraising drive for the Try On History Project. The project has been featured during MOSTHistory Happy Hours, FRIENDship events, fundraising events and has benefitted from previous #GivingTuesday donations. These efforts have been fruitful in terms of acquiring new costumes—and in growing community partnerships. With previous donations, fabric for women’s costumes depicting the Spanish Colonial period has been purchased, and the costumes are being made through a collaboration with UTRGV’s Theater Department. The fundraising goal for this year is $1,500 to purchase three early 20th century costumes. So far, generous donors during museums special events have given a total of $1,360.
“Historical costumes are not just for fun,” said Development Officer Lynne Beeching. “They serve a greater purpose as a teaching tool offering a glimpse into another time and way of life in our region’s past.”
The use of costumes in the hands of a museum educator can spark imagination, bring history to life, reinforce learning, deepen the visitor experience and expand the memory of the visitor experience. Beeching adds, “MOSTHistory has been utilizing historical costumes in a variety of ways at events like Summer Nights at the Museum, the East Foundation’s Behind the Gates event and more.”
The museum has also been forging partnerships along the way with local historical re-enactors to enhance events by enlivening the visitor experience and with UTRGV’s Theater Department to create costumes while student learn to sew. D & M Cleaners and Jones & Jones, Inc. are also partnering with MOSTHistory to clean and mend costumes.
“The museum is grateful for these partners and encourages the community to become inspired by the #GivingTuesday initiative to make a donation to support the Try On History Program,” said Executive Director Shan Rankin. “We ask the community to be fashionably generous.”
Founded in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y – a community and cultural center in New York City − #GivingTuesday inspired millions of people to give back and support the causes they believe in. Over $300 million was raised online to benefit a tremendously broad range of organizations, and much more was given in volunteer hours, donations of food and clothing, and acts of kindness.
“We are incredibly inspired by the way the #GivingTuesday community has embraced this concept for a worldwide movement,” said Henry Timms, founder of #GivingTuesday and Executive Director of 92Y. “As we prepare for November 27, we’re energized and encouraged by the community’s generosity. The levels of creativity, effort and the quality of the new ideas people have contributed and shared are phenomenal.”
Those who are interested in joining MOSTHistory’s #GivingTuesday initiative can visit www.mosthistory.org/try-on-history-project. For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website (www.givingtuesday.org), Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GivingTuesday) or follow @GivingTues and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on Twitter.