National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library: Past, Present & Future (w/giving options)

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(slow music) – I like to say we’re preserving the past, celebrating the present,
and creating the future at our National Czech and
Slovak Museum and Library. (slow music) – Most of us are all
descendants of immigrants. We all have a similar story. – We came over because
of political persecution and consider ourselves
survivors of communism and if it wasn’t for America, we wouldn’t have had a place to go. – One of the things that impresses me about the history of
this organization is that it was basically a community effort. – In 1992, the U.S. Congress declared the National Czech and Slovak
Museum a national museum and with that, we are
the only national museum in the United States. A group of visionaries in 1974
started this incredible place and then in 1995, the
new building was built. – I do remember the dedication
of the original building in 1995 with the three
presidents at the time, one of from the U.S., one from Slovakia, and one from the Czech Republic. And that was a great event for our city. – From 1995, there is a expansion
from a little tiny venue to a much larger one, and
then 2008 was the catastrophe, which was the flood, and
that got a lot of attention. (upbeat music) – Miraculously, the building
was moved across the street to higher ground and we
increased our size significantly. One of the unique things about the National Czech and
Slovak Museum and Library is that we are a museum
and library for everyone, regardless of your ethnic
or cultural background and I think that our name is so important because we want people to connect to us and their own culture or ethnicity. – I have people walk in every day who tell me about their
immigrant ancestors’ stories of coming to America. I never tire of that. Everybody has a unique
family immigration story. – [Gary] I think freedom
and immigration is relevant to just about everyone in this country. – I often interview
people in the community or in the region and say, have you been to the National Czech and
Slovak Museum and Library? No, but I hear it’s a great place and it’s a beautiful building,
but I’m not Czech or Slovak. And I think that’s the misperception, that we have activities for all ages and all ethnicities and we bring you to our Czech and Slovak
story to learn from, enjoy, and actually get involved in. – That’s what we teach, that you find out about other
people, you learn about them, and because they do it that particular way doesn’t mean that it’s weird or strange, but you might learn something from it. – First of all, what you see here at the Czech and Slovak Museum
and Library is a lot of pride. People have tremendous
pride in this facility, but also what’s inside of it. You can come to the library
and learn about ancestry, you can go through the exhibit, there are three different exhibit halls. – There will undoubtedly be something of interest for everyone. – The future of the National
Czech and Slovak Museum is bright, but as we’ve talked
about some of the challenges, I think that the biggest
issue for the future is to make sure that we’re stable and that we can continue to provide the outstanding new programming, exhibits, and innovative kinds of initiatives. – Last year was a benchmark year where we obtained Smithsonian affiliation. – And everyone said, oh, you’ll be getting
all this federal money. No, no, no, it doesn’t work like that. It’s really a recognition
of our excellence and the great work that
everyone does here, and so, that’s a great misconception. The other one is that state funding. We do get some grants from the humanities and so forth in Iowa,
we do get some funding, but all of our funding,
nearly 70%, has to come from donations and individual funding. – One of the reasons I provided support for this organization is
because we’re a special place and we’re really unique in the way we celebrate
history and culture. I hope the future is growth and that’s growth locally,
nationally, and internationally because we wanna be an
international organization, we wanna touch more people
and touch people everywhere. I’m proud of this facility, but I’m equally as proud of
the people and the leadership that has made it such
a strong institution, a great part of Cedar
Rapids, great part of Iowa, great part of the country. – It’s critical that we have new donors to make sure that we can continue to grow and to continue to expand our programming. Without individual donors
and without the support of our community, our region,
our state, and our nation, and internationally, we cannot operate. Our vision is to be bigger
and stronger and better and to have a strong future
for the time beyond our time, for the next 100 years. (upbeat music) – [Narrator] Now that you know more about the cultural and educational mission of the National Czech and
Slovak Museum and Library, consider the following
partnership options: named opportunities, a
legacy fund or bequest, corporate matching, charitable
trusts, life insurance, real estate, or stocks and bonds. For more information, contact the National Czech
and Slovak Museum and Library by visiting our website at or call us at 319-362-8500.

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