May 25, 2018
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Late funding push saves Maine museum dedicated to Revolutionary War general

Brian Swartz | BDN
Brian Swartz | BDN
Located on Route 131 in Thomaston, Montpelier is the site of the General Henry Knox Museum.
By Lauren Abbate, BDN Staff

Despite financial struggles, the General Henry Knox Museum will remain open in 2018, thanks to support the museum received through a last-minute fundraising campaign.

[Mainers scramble to save Revolutionary War general’s museum]

While the museum has not yet reached the $150,000 fundraising goal set last month, enough money was raised to make the museum’s board of directors comfortable in committing to remaining open for another season, according to Peter Ogden, the board’s chairman.

“Thanks to all the people who made generous donations and pledges,” Ogden said Friday.

The board made the decision to keep the museum open for the 2018 season at its meeting Thursday. Ogden said the campaign is within about two-thirds of the goal and that fundraising will continue.

The Thomaston-based museum is dedicated to Revolutionary War General Henry Knox, who was an officer in the Continental Army. Knox later served as President George Washington’s secretary of war before retiring to Thomaston and building his estate, Montpelier.

In December, the board sent letters to members and donors announcing that the Knox Museum was in danger of closing because of a funding shortage. The museum has operated largely on donations, but has struggled to be profitable on its own.

[Maine museum announces Revolutionary War replica home could close]

According to Ogden and recent IRS filings, the museum has operated at a financial loss for years.

In November, the board learned that if the museum were to close, the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands would not assume control of operations because the building the museum is housed in is a replica of Montpelier.

In voting to keep the museum open for 2018, the board asked its executive committee to devise a plan to restructure the financial operations of the museum in an attempt to make the museum more financially viable.

Ogden said the committee will spend the next two weeks hashing out details of the plan before bringing it back to the board. The ultimate goal is to establish an endowment.

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