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Weeksville, a Haven for Free African-Americans Before the Civil War, Is Fighting for Survival

Category: Financial Sustainability

This article highlights a case of precarious financial sustainability and what is at stake when museums can’t make ends meet. The Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, which preserves a village founded by free and formerly enslaved African Americans after slavery was abolished in New York, is in danger of closing due to gaps in its budget, and has turned to crowdfunding in hopes of covering its short-term operating costs. Staff and supporters argue that a pivotal piece of black history will be lost if the museum closes, a testament to the urgency of thinking about financial sustainability.

“[Weeksville executive director Rob Fields] said he is hoping to buy time for his staff of about 10, most of whom work part time, and to create a viable strategy to increase funding. Donations can be unpredictable, and most grants are linked to programming. But where the center needs the most funding help is with maintenance and operations, Mr. Fields said. The historic homes are protected by their landmark status, but could fall into decay if the center closed.”

—Corina Knoll and Morgan Jerkins

What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox .] Weeksville could have vanished altogether once before. The remains of the village of free African-Americans who had carved out a settlement after New York abolished slavery were crumbling in the 1960s.

Continue Reading at Nytimes

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