Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society Office and Activities Coordinator Cory Taylor is pictured outside of the Orchard Lake Museum Jan. 18.

Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society Office and Activities Coordinator Cory Taylor is pictured outside of the Orchard Lake Museum Jan. 18.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Oakland County grant boosts Historical Society

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published January 25, 2021

 A restored carriage is pictured outside of the Orchard Lake Museum Jan. 18. With a “depleted checking account,” the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society was recently helped by a grant from Oakland County.

A restored carriage is pictured outside of the Orchard Lake Museum Jan. 18. With a “depleted checking account,” the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society was recently helped by a grant from Oakland County.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society Office and Activities Coordinator Cory Taylor recently said, “Feels like we’re moving forward into the 21st century.”

Her mindset was helped by a grant the GWBHS received in December, which among other things, helped pay for some new equipment.

The society applied for and received an Oakland Together Cultural Institution COVID-19 Support Grant through Oakland County.

According to a press release, grants were awarded to “arts, cultural and stewardship institutions who provide cultural understanding and diversity, conservation and stewardship, while enhancing the quality of life for Oakland County and southeast Michigan.”

The grant allocates funds for operational costs, social distancing measures and COVID-19-related supplies.

Taylor said the timing of the grant was “pretty great.”

Historical Society President Gina Gregory said the grant “replenished our depleted checking account.”

Gregory said the grant — which, according to the county, was for $20,000 — was a “nice surprise.”

“It helped us remain financially within our budget for the year,” Gregory said. “All of our events were closed down and opportunities to gain income with our programming. And so our budget was severely depleted. It helped a great deal.”

Gregory shared some of the specific benefits of receiving the grant.

“We can use the funds to compensate for building costs (and) staff costs,” she said. “The grant reimbursed us for expenditures in certain categories from March to December of 2020 — COVID sanitation supplies, our lease, our utilities, our staff and our programs, whether remote or virtual. So that was terrific.”

Despite the Orchard Lake Museum still being closed to the public, the grant helped the GWBHS adapt to the times.

“Basically, the purpose of the grant was to help us develop virtual programming,” Taylor said. “We bought some new equipment that otherwise we wouldn’t be able to afford. A lot (of) times, it takes us several years to gain the financial stability to buy certain pieces of equipment; sometimes, we just know that they’re out of our range. With this grant, we were able to buy some video production equipment and things of that nature to help us with our virtual programming, that we hope will end relatively soon, so we can get back in person.”

Despite not being as exciting as other purchases, COVID-related supplies could eventually help make the museum a safer environment for the public.

“We were able to buy some PPE (personal protective equipment) stuff, in terms of hand sanitizer, HEPA filters for the museum, thermometers, stuff like that,” Taylor said. “That makes me feel a lot better. We were already doing our part, wearing our masks, sanitizing, disinfecting and all that, but we didn’t have anything else for the public.”

The GWBHS has remained active, and Gregory acknowledged modern technology’s role in the ability to do so.

“A few years ago, I wouldn’t (have) dreamed of recording a video on my phone and being able to share that,” she said. “Zoom and these other technology improvements have made it possible for us to continue during COVID.”

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