2009 Annual Appeal

Eli Whitney Museum

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I write to thank you for all that we have accomplished with your past support and to ask you for your continued help.

Our experiments help children discover essential things about themselves. That makes a next step easier. Children connect to other children…often from neighborhoods beyond their regular experience.

I offer one story that captures what’s vital in our work. It begins with a 6 year-old girl just adopted to New Haven from China. She came with irrepressible confidence and a ravenous appetite for learning, but few English words. She understood at once that our Workshop is filled with connections and concepts that she could be grasp, literally, and without their not-yet familiar names. She felt at home. She made friends. She made eloquent statements about who she was…all in constructions and colors. As her world grew exponentially, every child and apprentice who coached and guided her felt his or her world grow richer and wiser.

Our work begins with the most fundamental connections: nails, knots, nuts & bolts, wire, tape, glue, and screws. It is a repertoire of experience to be practiced with the same precision as musical notes. It’s the beginning of the confidence and the knowhow to build everything, including (even for children who have not traveled so far) a place of belonging.

When you give to our Annual Fund, you support building competence, confidence, and most important, community.

Sharing resources

The Open Workshop fund reduces or eliminates the cost of programs for 2,100 children whose families or schools lack the resources to join our workshops or field trips. That need is growing.

Building expertise

The Apprentice Fund supports training. Fifty-five teenagers are gaining dexterity, expertise, poise, confidence and wisdom.

Rewriting rules

The Catherine Greene fund encourages girls to try activities traditionally associated with boys.

Inventing ourselves

The Design Fund supports research and development. We reinvent our established projects. We create new projects to teach old and new ideas. Fifteen staff and apprentices will work on 100 new designs this year.

Expanding our hands

The Jack Viele fund provides extra hands: 800 hours of support this summer. For children who lack the strength, or confidence, or concentration to master our projects.

Planting for the future

The Stewardship Fund trains and guides the apprentices and volunteers who are restoring to the site the beauty and diversity that Eli Whitney encountered here 200 years ago. 22 trees, 20 varieties of wildflowers and shrubs planted this past year.

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