Fullerton residents found the opportunity to support the Fullerton Museum Center and find potential gifts for the holidays during the museum's Shop Small Saturday fundraising event on Nov. 28. The museum’s gift shop showcased a variety of jewelry, books, art prints, pins, clothing and other knick-knacks perfect for holiday gift-giving.
The Fullerton Museum Center has been closed to the public as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but visitors can still experience the diverse types of art available in the shop.
Local businesses provided support for the fundraiser as well, with Wine Country Gift Basket, Stubriks Steakhouse, Two Saucy Broads Pizza and Crepes Bonaparte each donating items for the raffle held during the fundraiser.
All sales during the event support the Fullerton Museum Center Association and help fundraise for the museum after it suffered temporary defunding by the city of Fullerton. The defunding occurred on June 2 after a 5-0 vote by the Fullerton City Council to adopt the proposed 2020-21 budget, as reported by the Fullerton Observer.
The new budget cut $305,493 in operating costs from the museum, a heavy portion from its usual budget of around $540,000. As a result, the Fullerton Museum Center has been holding events to gain public interest and encourage community members to support the museum.
The museum is an attraction for many schools around Fullerton, hosting tours of their exhibits for local students, art classes, music camps and even programs outside of the city. A petition asking the Fullerton City Council to reconsider their vote to defund the museum has reached over 2,600 signatures since its posting earlier this year.
The museum has origins dating back to over 100 years ago and has been in its current location since 1974. Janet Buzan, a board of trustees member for the Fullerton Museum Center, hopes that funding for the museum can return back to normal in order to preserve the art, culture and community that is promoted.
“We've been the heart and soul of Fullerton for many, many years,” Buzan said. “We are a board of trustees that has raised money specifically for the exhibits and thoughtful different events that bring the community together in a gathering spot here.”
Buzan expressed that the decision to halt funding for the Fullerton Museum Center came very abruptly and without ample time to prepare. This has led the museum to turn to its community members to ask for support through donations, volunteering and contacting the city council to voice their concerns about the defunding.
Amy Koostad, a fellow board of trustees member, expresses how the community building and educational opportunities the museum promotes are very critical to the city and its people.
“It's such an important part of our community, it joins people together,” she said. “It provides art for the entire community and especially the young community.”
Fullerton Museum Center will be hosting another event later this year to offer community members the chance to support the museum. The Shopping Soirée will be on Dec. 4 and feature discounts on holiday gift items sold at the museum, food to enjoy and a festive atmosphere.
People who would like to support the museum financially can attend events like these, or donate directly to the Fullerton Museum Center on its website.
There is no unwelcome help, and the support could prevent long-term challenges for the museum as it maneuvers operations while being defunded.
“We did not get ample notice that this was happening. We were blindsided,” Buzan said. “It's a real disappointment because the pandemic is not going to last forever but the actions of the council and city manager are going to have far-reaching, negative impacts on the quality of life in our community.”