• Home
  • Learn
  • Blog
  • From Treman's Desk: Why I Donate to Local History


The History Center blog shares research and findings about local history, excerpts from our Thaler/Howell Archives, information about upcoming exhibits and other opportunities on how to get involved with The History Center in Tompkins County. To learn more or view the archival materials mentioned, visit us in downtown Ithaca or subscribe to our monthly newsletter History Happenings

From Treman's Desk: Why I Donate to Local History

Sun, November 29, 2020 3:14 PM | Anonymous

Many of you will see (or may have already received!) The History Center’s annual appeal letter in your mailbox in the coming weeks. We need you now more than ever to join us as we prepare for the coming year. A donation at the end of this year has outsized impact on our ability to recover from what has been a tumultuous 2020. Although 2021 brings its own uncertainty, the continued outpouring of support fills me with optimism for a brighter future.

I am in the enviable position of hearing everyone’s reasons for their generous support of The History Center. The personal stories of connection and meaning are each powerful examples of the impact of our local history museum. I don’t often get to share why I donate to The History Center, a gift that does not come from a sense of obligation or is written into my job requirement. Instead, I give because I see every day the importance of local history in our community.

We had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with the Dorothy Cotton Institute on an exhibit and collection of programs titled Sisters of Change: Unsung Sheroes for Racial Justice this past year. The partnership was a powerful celebration of major contributions of women of color in Tompkins County, and across the country. Although I was familiar with some of the people and places, I relished the opportunity to explore many I did not. I gained a deep appreciation of the sacrifices needed to create our world. History matters because it allows us to acknowledge and celebrate our progress towards a more just and equitable society.

The initiative stood in stark contrast to the national reckoning driven by the murder of George Floyd. Our current moment drew the nation’s attention to the vast inequities that continue to exist. It brought another part of our history into the spotlight – one that is often easier to overlook, and harder to confront. The History Center responded by creating a Black Lives Matter collection to try and document the ongoing racial justice struggle locally, and we continue to grow the collection in real time. This collection will be an asset for future generations of Tompkins County so that they can also celebrate and acknowledge the progress of their community.

This is why I donate to The History Center. History – and specifically local history – is a critical tool for celebrating and understanding how much we’ve grown and achieved. It is also the tool for understanding how much work is left for us to accomplish today so that the next generation inherits a better world.

This year, I’m doubling my donation to The History Center because I know how significantly COVID-19 has impacted our finances, and I can’t imagine Tompkins County without the museum. I’m asking you to please make a gift to The History Center as we close out 2020. However we have impacted your life, it's only possible because you are part of our generous local history community. From everyone at The History Center, thank you for your past generosity. We’re looking forward to our future explorations of Tompkins County with you.

Ben Sandberg

Executive Director at The History Center in Tompkins County

Physical Address

Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

110 North Tioga Street

(On the Ithaca Commons) 

Ithaca NY, 14850 USA

Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' Territory


Exhibit HallWednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm - CLOSED Sun-Tues

Cornell Local History Research Library & Thaler/Howell Archives - By appointment only. Please contact


Email: Refer to Contact page for individual emails, General inquiries to

Phone: 607-273-8284


Find us on social media @tompkinshistory

© Copyright 2021 The History Center in Tompkins County

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software