Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Update on Danish American Archive and Library

The following email was sent today by the Danish Immigrant Museum:

On Monday, July 12th, the Board of Regents voted to suspend operations of Dana College, which will mean the college will not open for its 127th academic year. The closure was necessitated by action of the Higher Learning Commission that voted to deny the college's request to transfer accreditation to a "for-profit" educational corporation.

The Danish American Archive and Library, located on the Dana College campus, has been moved to a document storage facility in Blair. Nearly a hundred volunteers accomplished this task between Friday morning, July 9th and Sunday afternoon, July 11th!   First Lutheran Church in Blair is providing temporary office space for DAAL so that archival activities can continue during the transition period. Arrangements are being made to relocate the archive to a suitable space in Blair. The intent is that this will be concluded by the end of July.

The Danish Immigrant Museum is assisting the Danish American Archive and Library and Dana College in two ways. Following action by the Board of Regents, the museum has taken temporary custody of historical artifacts that belonged to the college until such time as final ownership is resolved. Among these is the entire Lauritz Melchior Collection (the world famous heroic tenor), numerous paintings, and other artifacts that were displayed in the college's Heritage Room and around the campus.

The museum is also receiving tax-deductable donations to assist the Danish American Archive and Library during the interim period until it can organize as a separate, not-for-profit corporation with 501.c3 status. This is necessary, since the archive lost its entire endowment of almost $300,000 and its operating funds. Gifts will be used to pay storage costs, rent and utilities in the new location and the wages of one part-time employee. Checks may be made out to The Danish Immigrant Museum, with "archive preservation" or "DAAL support" on the memo line. The museum will deduct 10% to cover expenses of processing, tracking and receipting gifts.

This emergency presents The Danish Immigrant Museum with two challenges.   Storage space at the museum is at capacity even without taking on this responsibility, requiring the museum to expand into existing gallery space.  While donor numbers have increased, gift amounts are less due to the economic environment.  Even as we invite you to support the Danish American Archive and Library, we ask you to remember The Danish Immigrant Museum.


Debra Christensen Larsen
Development Associate/
Membership Coordinator
The Danish Immigrant Museum
2212 Washington Street
Elk Horn, IA  51531
(712) 764-7001


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