With the 2015 BHoF Weekender just a day away, we wanted to talk about some of the many changes that have occurred and are occurring at BHoF. Please enjoy this letter from our Board.
Dear Burlesque Community, Museum Visitors, and BHoF Supporters,
This is a year of anniversaries for The Burlesque Hall of Fame. We celebrate not only the 50th anniversary of our collection and the 25th Miss Exotic World competition, but also the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Exotic Dancers League and our 10th Weekender here in Las Vegas. It’s a time for honoring our past and looking forward into our future.
Beginning with the reopening of the museum in 2010, BHoF has undertaken a tremendous project of reinvention. Since then, we have hired a new director, a museum professional with years of experience in the museum, nonprofit, and academic fields. We have added four new Board members, drawing across the burlesque community to bring new ideas as well as new skills and talents to the organization. We have created an Advisory Council as a channel for community feedback and participation. And we have created new programming, adopted new by-laws, formalized a body of policies and procedures aimed at bringing the museum to the highest standard of museum practice, expanded the museum’s hours, and begun the long process of cataloguing and expanding our collection.
In short, we have become a new BHoF, one with an eye towards the sustainability of our organization and the ongoing expansion of our educational and entertainment offerings.
We are lucky to have the support of an incredible community in these efforts. As performers, as volunteers, and as audience members, your participation in the BHoF Weekender accounts for about ¾ of our annual revenues — paying for programming, conservation materials, rent and utilities, staff salaries, promotion, communication services, and everything else we need to protect and display our collection and spread the word about burlesque. The other 25% comes from membership, merchandise sales, and direct donations to the museum.
Our efforts in every area are guided by the traditions of Jennie Lee and Dixie Evans, who taught us above all that the story of burlesque is important and deserves to be told. We are working hard to preserve that story for this generation and the next by building an organization able to stand the test of time.
Over the next few years, you can expect to see further change at BHoF, as we work towards relocating to a larger space, making our collection more accessible, and making it easier for the community to be involved. We are working hard to create a more professional, more responsive, and more transparent organization.
We can’t do this without your support. As the museum grows, so too do our financial needs. New space, new staff, new equipment and materials — every step we take imposes new financial demands. In the coming years, we will be fundraising for a larger home and eventually to build an endowment that will ensure the long-term viability of the museum. Our budget for this fiscal year is about $140,000 — building the museum our community wants and deserves will require at least twice that.
We invite you to be a part of the new BHoF. Tell us what you want to see, and join us in making it happen. Contribute your time and talent as a member of our Advisory Council and working committees, by organizing fundraising events in your community, or by participating in the Weekender. Donate your costumes, posters and flyers, and private collections to the museum to help us document the present moment in burlesque history. Research your own local burlesque history and contribute to our Local History Project. And most of all, become a member at a level that makes sense to you and help us ensure the continued existence of The Burlesque Hall of Fame.
Hugs and Glitter,
–The BHoF Board