Annual Appeal 2016

Eli Whitney Museum

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A Welcoming Place for Birds

For our Annual Meeting, Gilles Carter filmed a rich portrait of the birds who visit or nest within a few hundred steps of the Museum. It is a remarkable habitat – more than 20 warbler species on a good Spring day. Corrie Folsom- O’Keefe of Audubon CT explained the fortunate dynamics of the deciduous forest, the river, the marsh and the trap rock ridge that attract and nurture these migrating visitors.

How do we protect this treasure? Her answer: Protect the diversity of the flora and fauna that welcome nearly 200 bird species each year. That requires forward thinking activism. The Wooly Adelgids blight the Hemlocks – plant Pines, replace the invading Norway Maples with Oaks that harbor caterpillars which in turn feed baby chickadees. Defend the young oaks from deer. And so on...It’s hard work but, take heart – the warblers are international. They will sing in the forests of Venezuela. And return.

A Welcoming Place for Children

The Museum is a fortunate habitat. We attract children with diverse backgrounds, gifts, and curiosity. We give them space and materials and time to experiment in their brief stops here as they are migrating toward their grown-up identity.

That requires activism and your help. Your generosity underwrites this diversity. It lets us include children regardless of the neighborhood or nation they are from. It supports work which searches for strengths in every child and avoids the myopia of dividing winners and losers. It trains young men and women to lead with strength and empathy. Take heart – the values you nurture here will follow children as they travel. And return.

We share out tools. Children from every neighborhood and many nations enrich our workshops. That's the definition of community.

The Open Workshop Fund reduces or eliminates the cost of projects for children whose families or schools lack the resources to join our workshops or field trips.

  • 243 Summer Workshop Scholars
  • 42 Scholarships for Refugee Children (with IRIS)
  • 810 Reduced cost projects for most-in-need children.

In a workshop, no tools are identified as 'girl tools' or 'boy tools.'

The Catherine Greene Fund encourages girls to try activities traditionally associated with boys. Caty Greene was the vivacious, bold and independent widow who supported the young Whitney's work on the cotton gin. We return the encouragement.

  • 14 Summer scholarships for girls with unbounded curiosity

The Polly Lada Mocarski Prize recognizes young women leaders.

Place feeds learning. We labor to maintain the native plants that attract and shelter avian visitors and curious children.

The Stewardship Fund trians and guides the Apprentices who plant native trees, shrubs and forbs (understory plants) on the Whitney site to establish a succession that will support the beauty and diversity that Whitney encountered here in 1798.

Instinct is not enough. 90 middle school, high school, and college students return, week after week, year after year, to develop the skills, knowledge and leadership that sustains our workshop.

The Apprentice Fund supports training. Apprentices develop expertise, poise, confidence and wisdom. The Apprentice Fund supports direct and indirect training, individual mentoring, experimental projects, design challenges and the social experience that is essential to maturing in a workplace.

14 Apprentices are taking advanced level sewing and 12 are developing new curricula for our computer classes.

Open hearts and patient hands welcome children who need extra direction or encouragement to attend our Workshops. The Jack Viele Fund provides extra hands.

  • 700 hours of support each summer for children who lack the strength, or confidence, or patience to master our projects.
  • 12 Scholarships: extra assistance for families facing extra challenges.

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