Since I work in the nonprofit/museum field, I am aware that some institutions have had a lot of trouble in the past few years, although the 9/11 factor has not always been the relevant reason, especially away from New York. And again, the troubles that Heritage Harbor may or may not be having (I’m not on the inside, so it’s hard to tell) do not necessarily reflect on the American Diner Museum. It’s good to see that they are pressing ahead with a temporary facility in the meantime. Frankly, I hope that the concerns that have been raised in the local media are overblown – it’s time that Heritage Harbour start staffing up and I’d be interested! But unfortunately the HH project has been one that has stumbled along for a number of years now without wholehearted support even in good times from the local community, especially financial support. The broader economic downturn and budget problems, more than 9/11, have had an impact here, with a project that hasn’t really gotten off the ground facing increased skepticism and difficulty in gaining support. I don’t see how firing, this month, the CEO can be taken as a good sign. The Diner Museum site link given above links to the Heritage Harbor site, where an article assures that the project will be opening despite the budget problems. That article, however, is from a Brown University undergraduate newspaper and is dated last April. Given recent developments, I’m not reassured. I hope and expect HH will produce something eventually – they’ve come too far to just go away now – but it may be a while and much different than what has been the plan.
After the events of 9/11 many non-profit organizations, museums, historical groups and governments have had to cut back on staffing due to the troubled economy. This doesn’t seem unusual for a project this size. I found more details on this page.
I don’t know how this affects the American Diner Museum, but Heritage Harbor, their "host museum", has had trouble getting off the ground. The most recent developments are detailed in a story from the Aug. 2 Providence Journal (registration required) at http://www.projo.com/metro/content/projo_20030802_heritage.380d.html
Here’s the opening of the article:
PROVIDENCE — The Heritage Harbor Corporation, the nonprofit group that has been planning for years to build a museum showcasing Rhode Island’s cultural heritage, has laid off its chief executive officer and seven workers.
Citing a drop in donations to the planned museum and a delay in city and state financing, the Heritage Harbor board has cut the CEO position, held by R. Mark Davis since May 2001.
Seven out of about 18 staff positions were eliminated across the organization, from development to administration.
The layoffs represent a setback for the museum that has been in the planning stages for several years, but has yet to open at the site of Narragansett Electric’s former South Street generating plant.
Earlier this year, the Rhode Island Historical Society pulled its support from the project. And the Providence City Council has raised concerns about the museum’s economic viability.
To be sure, this doesn’t directly (as far as I know) affect the ADM’s fundraising, but it could have an impact on their ability to open in the place and manner described on the website.
Michael, it’s a good site. I’ve contributed (monetarily) to the ADM in the past.
A Movable Feast With a Medieval Flair: Diner Tour and Museum Visit
Saturday October 18th, 9.00am to 7pm
Co-sponsored by the Goff Institute and the American Diner Museum. Starting at the Star Diner in East Providence, this bus tour includes a continental breakfast and background lecture on the history of diners by Daniel Zilka, executive director of the American Diner Museum. As we tour the Blackstone River Valley to visit several diners, we will stop for a tour of the Kelly House in Ashton, RI and have lunch and dessert at two different diners before proceeding to Worcester, MA where we will visit the Higgins Armory Museum before returning to East Providence.
The tour fee of $60.00 per person includes coach bus, breakfast, lunch, dessert and museum admission.
Reservations must be made by Wednesday, October 15th.
For more information, please call Ronnie Newman at 401 331 8575 x28 or contact the American Diner Museum at 401 723 4342.
9am Star Diner tour begins
140 Newport Avenue (Route 1A)
East Providence, RI.
Meet at The Star Diner at 9 a.m. – Finish back at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday October 18th, 2003
American Diner Museum — Click Here
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