Hanford's Carnegie Museum meets fundraising goal

Article Contributed to The Leader
A crowd of about 125 people attended a fundraiser for the Carnegie Museum and raised more than $20,000 at the Hanford Fraternal Hall.
A crowd of about 125 people attended a fundraiser for the Carnegie Museum and raised more than $20,000 at the Hanford Fraternal Hall.
Photo Contributed

The Carnegie Museum of Kings County capped off a successful year-long fundraising campaign Saturday evening, bringing in more than $20,000 at a special event at the Hanford Fraternal Hall. Jack Schwartz, Carnegie board president, said the money raised was sufficient to cover the museum’s first major capital improvements project: the restoration of the iconic Carnegie library building’s 1905 wooden floors.

More than 125 people attended the evening fundraiser, which featured live music, wine, and hors d’oeuvres. Many bid on auction items that ranged from gift baskets and handmade crafts to a luncheon for eight adults, including a wine tasting at St. Jorge Winery, a $1000 certificate from Salmon’s Home Furnishings, and 300 pounds of grass and grain-fed beef. One of the most unique auction items was a bench from the old Kings Drive-In Theater.

Denise Raulino, co-chair of the museum’s fundraising committee, said the group began asking for donations for Saturday’s auctions in October. In fewer than two months, they had enough items to put on a successful event. “The community’s involvement and excitement has been a blessing,” she said.   

Arianne Wing and Steve Banister, owners of L.T. Sue Company Tea Room & Emporium, were among the dozens of individuals, organizations, and businesses that donated auction items and made financial contributions to the fundraiser. 

“We love history and we love Hanford’s history,” Wing said when asked why L.T. Sue Company donated a gift basket to the auction. “The Carnegie Museum captures the power of place and sense of home in every exhibition. We want to support them.”

A highlight of the evening was the announcement that the museum would receive a $12,500 donation, the same amount that was donated by Andrew Carnegie to the city of Hanford in 1903 for the construction of a new library building. The donor, Nuveen, is the investment management arm of the Teachers Insurance and Annuities Association of America (TIAA), founded by Carnegie in 1918. 

Nuveen has more in common with the museum than the same founder. Nuveen’s head of global horticulture, Mark Coelho, is the nephew of one of the curators of the museum’s year-long celebration of Portuguese history and culture, Kathi Mendes Gulley. “Our company’s core value is giving back,” Coelho said of Nuveen. “This was a one-in-a-million opportunity to support a cause in which my aunt happens to be involved. How could we pass it up?” 

The restoration of the museum’s floors is scheduled to begin in January 2024. Schwartz said the project, estimated at $20,000, should be completed in time for the opening of the museum’s next major themed exhibition, which will focus on the history and contributions of the local Asian and Asian Pacific Islander communities.    

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