What is the price of knowledge?

Where did the word "museum" come from? The word is from ancient Greece and describes a building or temple dedicated to the Muses. OK, who were the Muses? In mythology, they were the daughters of Zeus, the king of the many gods and goddesses, and Mnemosyne (nee-moss-ih-nee), the goddess of memory.

The nine Muses were goddesses of the literary arts, music, visual arts, culture and science. The Muse, Clio, was the goddess of history. The Muses spark creativity in mortal people. Museums collect, preserve, interpret and display items of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific importance for the education of the public and for future generations. Above all, museums are storehouses of knowledge.

We are lucky to have more than 30 museums in our county. We have three museums in Aptos, four if you count New Brighton State Beach’s Pacific Migrations. The other three are Seacliff State Beach Visitor Center, Cabrillo College Gallery, and the Aptos History Museum. All of our Aptos museums are government supported, except for the Aptos History Museum. To quote Hamlet, “Therein lies the rub.”

The history museum has been graced with very reasonable rent since it opened. Our annual Swing into Spring fundraiser generally brings in most of the rent, and together with three or four special presentations, we were able to pay the bills. However, this year, the museum’s rent has been substantially increased, so we need the community’s help to save this local treasure.

You can make a difference. Short term, you can help by becoming a museum member and/or by coming to our annual fundraiser on May 5. It is a Kentucky Derby party at the Best Western Seacliff Inn with mint juleps, a no-host bar, appetizers, a silent auction, live music, and we will watch the Derby together. There will be prizes for the best women’s and men’s Derby outfits. The auction will have amazing items. If we can bring in more income, it will help immensely. You can also donate on the Aptos History Museum Facebook page or visit www.facebook.com/donate/2064329983837793.

Long term, we need to have an endowment established through the Community Foundation, and/or someone who can help us acquire the building with a long-term funding plan. We are looking for a few super heroes to help save Aptos history. Might that be you or someone you know? Would you like to have a museum named after you?

We have built our history collection with generous donations of artifacts from the community over the course of 32 years. The museum opened 12 years ago with the help of, all volunteer, labor and staffing. We have provided local history field trips to over 3,000 children and their teachers with hands-on exhibits designed to stimulate young minds. The museum has provided stories and photos to businesses and residents and continues to be a resource for information.

Aptos is an amazing place. Many of you have never seen the museum. Come see what you have been missing at 7605 Old Dominion Court, Monday through Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free. Contact 688-9514 or [email protected] and help keep the stories of our past alive.