An Enriching Experience... Just Not The One We Expected

This past weekend Hearthstone hosted the 21st Annual Appleton Antique Show at a local venue. The show, our largest annual fundraiser, typically draws over 40 exhibitors - presenting beautiful pieces of almost every conceivable style and era - and well over a thousand attendees.  As the show is held about this time every April, our organizers usually worry that the weather will be too nice and that the first buds of Spring (and the chance to get outside after a long Wisconsin Winter) will be too much for potential attendees to pass up and they will skip the show.

Well...  This year didn't go quite as planned.

There was no warm Wisconsin sunshine.  Instead, Appleton was slammed by its worst winter storm in over 140 years.  Almost two feet of snow fell on top of a thick coating of freezing rain. Wind gusts topped 40 mile per hour.  Roads were impassable - assuming you could find your car under avalanche-size drifts.  Businesses were closed.  City services were non-existent.  The weather turned the simplest of tasks into hours of labor.

And yet through it all, our phenomenal volunteers found ways to cope with the blizzard, show up, and help out.  Our exhibitors, who have seen it all, shrugged, laughed, and spoke of better days to come.  Everyone was simply amazing in the face of adversity.

Our fundraiser didn't enrich the coffers at Hearthstone.  Far from it.  Yet we came away from this weekend rich beyond measure. The understanding and compassion of our volunteers and our exhibitors warmed us in a way no Spring sunshine could ever match.

Just a note from the back porch (hastily typed with freezing fingers)

- George, Executive Director at Hearthstone

I've been asked...

why should someone contribute to a museum when there are so many other problems in this world... hungry children, battered spouses, homelessness.  It's a good question.  I understand that there is a primacy of needs.  We all deserve and, in fact, should demand, that we are clothed, and fed, and secure in our relationships.  These things are non-negotiable. These things are basic to the human condition.

But when you walk into a place like Hearthstone you get something.  You get a sense of context: You become grounded in where we have come from and maybe where we are going.  You get a sense of texture: You can see how the fabric of our lives has changed and evolved.  You get a sense of enrichment: You simply feel better by being exposed to something new.

When you walk through Hearthstone you smile, and wonder, and learn... and those things are basic to the human condition too.

Just a note from the back porch.

- George, Executive Director at Hearthstone