Crown Heights

Weeksville Heritage Center launches fundraising campaign to avoid July closure

May 6, 2019 Lore Croghan
Weeksville Heritage House has launched a fund-raising campaign to avoid closure. File photo courtesy of Weeksville Heritage Center
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A Crown Heights historic treasure issued an urgent fundraising call to remedy a budget deficit and avoid closure.

A CrowdRise campaign to raise $200,000 for Weeksville Heritage Center went live on Monday, President and Executive Director Rob Fields announced. It will run through June 30.

“Our funding for operations has not kept pace with the expenses associated with running a 23,000-square foot building and maintaining our Historic Hunterfly Road Houses, three landmarked buildings, each of which is over 100 years old,” Fields said in a news release.

“If we don’t come together and act, the doors of the Weeksville Heritage Center will be forced to close this July 2019,” Brooklyn-born actor Michael K. Williams says in a video to promote the campaign.

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“We can’t let that happen,” Williams says in the video, which is posted on the museum’s website. Williams is known for his roles in “The Wire” and “Boardwalk Empire.”

The house museum illuminates the history of one of pre-Civil War America’s largest free black communities. Weeksville Heritage Center is located at 158 Buffalo Ave.

The center, whose potential closure was first reported by Brownstoner, needs money for continued operations and strategic planning.

The museum must broaden its individual donor base and “diversify our sources of revenue,” because much of its programming is free, Fields wrote in the release.

He sounded a note of optimism about the prospect of donors stepping up and saving the museum, which was “founded on the idea of community.”

“It was ‘rediscovered’ and the historic houses were saved in the 1960s by working people in the community,” he added. “And I’m confident we’ll get through this crisis with the support of our extended community.”

Follow reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.

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