Point of View: An invitation to the Homer community

The Patrons of the Pratt Society will be celebrating 25 years of supporting the Pratt on Tuesday, Feb. 7

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the Pratt Museum is hosting their annual membership meeting. At that time, The Patrons of the Pratt Society, known as POPS, will be celebrating 25 years of supporting the Pratt. Twenty-five years ago, seven Homer residents got together to discuss how they could raise money for the Pratt. Like many small museums the Pratt struggled for funding.

Over the next 25 years this group paid off the remaining mortgage on the museum building, purchased the adjoining property to increase the original 2-acre footprint to almost 10 acres that includes the forest trails, lots under the Harrington Cabin and the “Yellow House” to the north. All paid in full.

Other projects include the following:

— Replaced roofing on the Harrington Cabin and assisted with expenses for the popular remote video cams for bear and seabird viewing

— Improved the saltwater aquariums and replaced carpet in the Marine Room

— Purchased 100 chairs and several tables for community gatherings

— Replaced the museum’s office equipment with modern software and bought audio equipment for public events

— Assisted with expenses for the annotated Forest Trail System, Outdoor Art Exhibits and the biennial “Tamamta Katurlluta” Native cultures gathering events

— Published a book with some of the money from our 2007 Quilt raffle that documents the Pratt Museum’s collection of historic quilts sewn by local quilters

— With the 2012 Quilt Raffle money paid for a color laser printer, LED lights for the galleries, hard drives for database backup and Gull Island digital transmission equipment

— Was actively involved with discussion of how to deal with building needs, repairs, roofing, etc.

POPS partially funded several surveys, architectural plans and other improvements.

POPS pledged and gave $500,000 toward the renovation of the original building, completed in 2018. Finally, the building is ADA compliant with two lifts so those handicapped do not have to walk outside to access upper and lower levels of the building.

More recently, with funding from the Wynn Foundation, POPS has funded work on restoring and updating the gardens and grounds, a huge part of the museum mission. The Wynn Foundation has been very supportive over the years.

POPS also funded the printing of the book “Some Stayed On” a retelling of the pioneers who established Homer. This book is sold by the museum as a fundraiser for them.

Recently, we had Leo Vait design and install a bench in honor of Billie Fischer, daughter of Carl Wynn, who together with the Wynn Foundation has been so generous to the museum over the years.

POPS is a 501.3 organization. We are totally separate from the museum, have no role in directing the museum, etc. We exist as volunteers to assist them. And we need new, younger members. If you would like to join us, please come on the 7th and let us know.

Please do come and join us as we celebrate 25 years and honor all those who have been members. Deserts and drinks such as soda, coffee and tea will be served. Mike Hawfield will be a guest speaker. The meeting starts at 3 p.m., and will go to 5 p.m. It is happening earlier in the evening so that those of us elders can drive in daylight. Do please come and see your museum and join us.

Thank you.

We look forward to seeing you.

Millie Martin is president of Patrons of the Pratt Society.