"The Old Fort Niagara Association has been preserving this historical asset for our community as well as creating educational programs for more than eight decades with little operating support from the government. Instead we rely on admissions, museum shop sales and contributions to sustain our operations," said Paul Cannon, chairperson of the "Call to Arms" campaign. "Not everyone can shoulder a musket or restore 150-year-old masonry walls, but our community should be able to support this campaign in order to maintain the success of this historical treasure right in our own backyard."
The weak state of national and international tourism, declining government grants and the elimination of school field trip budgets have combined to threaten the economic viability of the fort in recent years. This is the first year the Old Fort Niagara Association has expanded its annual fund goal from $40,000. All funds raised from the "Call to Arms" campaign will be used to prevent the scaling back of programming and reduced public access as well as begin to address mounting preservation concerns. OFN is dedicated to keeping the six extant 18th century buildings intact, which are the oldest buildings in the Great Lakes Basin.
"Our friends and neighbors have the power to prevent the fort from falling into the endangered position occupied by many historic sites," said Robert Emerson, executive director. "Last year we hosted a very successful French and Indian War 250th anniversary that brought tens of thousands of visitors to Old Fort Niagara. Donations from this year's ‘Call to Arms' campaign will also be used in the preparation and development of exciting new programming to commemorate the upcoming War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration."
OFN is operated by the Old Fort Niagara Association, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1927 to preserve, restore and interpret Old Fort Niagara Historic Site. Old Fort Niagara operates as a separate independent entity. As a not-for-profit organization, the site relies on admissions, museum shop sales, donations, memberships and other fundraising activities for its ongoing operations.
For more information on how you can support Old Fort Niagara's 2010 annual fund, "Call to Arms," visit www.oldfortniagara.org or call 745-7611, ext. 224.