A MESSAGE FROM OUR DIRECTORS March 2020
Hello friends -
First of all, we hope you are well.
It’s tempting to say, “In these unprecedented times…” But that’s not really true. In the 1940’s and 50’s, during some of the worst periods of the polio epidemic, entire neighborhoods were routinely quarantined, with children stranded in their homes, sometimes for weeks on end. My father lived in such a neighborhood in Milwaukee in the summer of 1944. He and his brother and sister would spend their days in the front yard, bantering with their pals in nearby yards, securing messages to rocks that they would throw from one house to the next as a way of communicating with friends farther down the block. Marooned on their lawns in mid-summer like little castaways, the neighborhood at times became a bustling archipelago. But more often they were faced with long stretches of nothing. And in the face of nothing, salvation came between the covers of a book.
In times like these, the power of a book can be revelatory - as something to share, as a way to escape, as a catalyst for empathy and learning, and as a source of comfort and reassurance for a child in times of confusion, which is most of the time for a kid. It can transform a season of fear and isolation into an opportunity for exploration and discovery. It’s a power that lives at the heart of the Rabbit hOle’s mission to inspire and uphold the reading lives of young people.
And how is the Rabbit hOle doing? It’s safe to say that we’re not exactly where we want to be right now, but who is? Naturally, philanthropy and giving are declining precipitously in the midst of a bewildered financial landscape, and this will almost certainly alter our timeline.
On the other hand, we are $10 million in on a $13.5 million project and our work continues (from home for now). All things considered, we’re lucky as hell. This doesn’t mean we don’t need your help anymore. We do. But we also understand that there are others who need your help even more right now. It may take us a little longer than we had hoped to raise the final dollars and open ours doors, but because we’ve engineered a wholly unique approach to building a museum by committing ourselves to the artist-driven model, the vision will continue to take shape even as we stumble through these weird and difficult times.
Thinking about my father standing in his yard some 70+ years ago watching his summer drift by, and about how books helped him make sense of a world turned upside-down, we thought we could at least try and give you another tool in your toolkit to help fill up your family’s days with story, creativity, and play. To this end we’ll be rolling out a cool and unusual opportunity for kids in just a few days called, “The-hOle-Lotta-Time-Exhibit-Design Challenge!” In a nutshell, we’ll be inviting our young peeps to delve into their genius and design their own exhibits based on a favorite book or story. And maybe, just maybe, one of those designs will find its way into the Rabbit hOle’s Explor-a-Storium when the doors open and the fun begins! Stay tuned…
all the best to you and yours,
Pete + Deb