With the theme of “The Beach Through the Decades,” the Hermosa Beach Historical Society and Museum’s biggest fundraiser will return later this month.
In 2019, the gala raised over $42,000. The goal is to raise more than $30,000 this year, after a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to museum board member Jake Courtney, who is chairing the event for the first time this year.
“You always need the money to get ahead,” Courtney said, “especially if you’re trying to expand the services the museum can provide.”
The gala will be held Saturday, August 27 at St. Cross Church, 1818 Monterey Blvd., and attendees are encouraged to wear casual beachwear from any decade, starting in the 1920s. The event will include dancing, live music, raffle prizes, drinks and food.
The museum is working toward accreditation with the American Alliance of Museums, which is a challenge, said director and curator Jamie Erickson.
Currently, Erickson is the only full-time employee, but she recently hired an assistant. While the museum has about 15 volunteer guides who work from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, the museum must be open the equivalent of five working days a week to be eligible for accreditation.
“We have such a fantastic volunteer base and a really dedicated working board,” Erickson said, “but it still requires that community effort.”
A major challenge, however, is recruiting enough people to work at the museum.
“We need to have a bigger staff if we can afford it,” Courtney said. “But to really maintain our goal of accreditation, it will take a community effort in terms of money and time.”
Accreditation with the AAM is one of the highest recognitions a museum can receive, Courtney said.
It ensures that the local museum operates at a high level in terms of fiscal responsibility, collections management and educational programming, he added.
“(Accreditation) also makes us more eligible for grant opportunities,” Courtney said, “so we can continue to expand our programs and our accessibility to the community and academia as a whole.”
Another goal is to raise awareness of the museum’s very existence, Courtney said, “and what it has to offer while trying to engage a younger demographic.
Those who get involved with the Historical Society and the Museum, Courtney said, tend to be older members of the community who want to look back on their lives.
“We really try to instill in the younger members of our community that it’s important to always look forward,” Courtney said, “but also to know the history of the city.”
The fundraising gala aims to bring the community together, he said, regardless of age.
“This community isn’t just about a bunch of people, it’s not,” Courtney added. “It’s broader than that and we want to be inclusive and let everyone know they’re invited.”
Tickets for the gala, which takes place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on August 27, are $100 per person.
For more information, visit hermosabeachhistoricalsociety.org.