Sarah Lim: You can count on the courthouse

February 7, 2009 

SARAH LIM

We know times are hard. But, you can count on us to continue providing excellent exhibitions and educational programs at the Courthouse Museum. We recently awarded six minigrants totaling $1,500 to schools in Merced County to cover their transportation expenses to visit our "Bear In Mind: The Story of the California Grizzly" exhibit.

Charleston Elementary School of Los Banos, Ballico-Cressey School District, and Yamato Colony School of Livingston have never been to the Courthouse Museum. These transportation grants have made this possible. In a letter of support from Jose L. Gonzales, superintendent of Ballico-Cressey School District, he writes, "Mini grants such as these allow us to continue to provide rich opportunities such as these, especially during difficult economic times ... Your partnership will certainly be a vital part of student success and education." Principal Lou S. Ruiz of Charleston Elementary School shared the same sentiment when he wrote that an "opportunity like this one will provide students with knowledge and experience that are invaluable and will last a lifetime."

We understand that there are budget constraints on our schools and believe in the importance of extracurricular education. If the schools cannot come to us due to the lack of funding, we will do our part to bring them here. We offered three $300 grants for Merced County schools and three $200 transportation grants for Merced city schools. The grants were available on a "first apply, first awarded basis." Merced city schools which received the grants included Sheehy Elementary, Chenoweth Elementary and Peterson Elementary.

Transportation grants are just one of many examples of our commitment to providing educational opportunities to the public. We also offer annual grants to nonprofit organizations to help with their historical projects. Known as the Rossotti Capital Improvement Grant in memory of Augustine and Aleta Rossotti, two $2,500 matching grants will be awarded to the Japanese American Citizens League--Livingston--Merced Chapter for its Merced Assembly Center Commemorative Memorial project and Hilmar-Irwin-Stevinson Historical Society for the "Mobile Museum" office equipment project at our annual meeting tomorrow.

2009 is going to be an exciting year for us. With the recent opening of "Bear In Mind" exhibit, we will host three other shows: "Merced On the Move: Transportation History of Merced County" in April, "Endangered Species of California's Central Valley" in August, and "A Victorian Christmas" in December.

Our success is, in large part, due to the support of our generous benefactors and members. Merced County Historical Society will hold its annual meeting Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Merced County Board of Supervisors' Chamber at the County Administration Building. Members will have a chance to share their input in the direction of the Historical Society. The meeting is open to the public.

Sarah Lim is director of Merced County Courthouse Museum. She may be contacted at (209) 723-2401 or info@mercedmuseum.org

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