Dear Vasa Brothers and Sisters, Vasa Star Article April, 2017
Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world…”. In most of our local lodges small groups of committed members make the difference whether their lodge or district exists and ultimately whether the Vasa Order exists. The same is true for the Vasa National Archives. Motivated, committed VNA Board members, our staff, a small group of Vasa members and others in Bishop Hill and donors continue to safeguard the future for the VNA. As Vasa members we can enjoy the feeling of making a difference in the history of the Order by envisioning and creating a positive future for the Archives. Without it there is no one place to showcase the experience of so many who belonged or belong to the fraternal order of Vasa.
When I tour an historic home I am in awe of the “friends” of that small piece of history who understand the home’s historical worth and are willing to donate thousands of hours maintaining its beauty and its place in history. They willingly and painstakingly do research, strip woodwork, gather items that have been lost and make constant improvements to the property. They do all these preservation tasks to keep that small piece of local history alive for future generations. These volunteers lovingly show visitors the beauty of the past and as a visitor they motivate you to explore more and study the time in history that this particular home was in its finest splendor. Don’t we all want this for the Vasa Order?!
I hope that as Vasa members you will want to explore the Archives and Bishop Hill or that you will access the Archives digitally should you be unable to physically visit the facility. Some of you are second and even third generation Vasa members. Many of your parents or grandparents were honored and excited about their membership in Vasa and the social experiences they shared with others who migrated from Sweden. This is the reason we use the motto, “May the future learn from the past” as our theme each year for our Heritage Fundraiser.
In the next few weeks you will receive a Heritage Fundraiser letter asking you for financial assistance and I hope you won’t put it aside. Even a small donation helps us move forward to accomplish our goals and keep the Archives fresh and inviting.
Many of you offered suggestions to make the Archives available to members who cannot physically visit western Illinois. We took those suggestions seriously. I hope you have or will read our Archivist, Kathy Cuff’s article in this issue of the Nordjernan. We are hiring an intern for the first time this summer to help in the digital input process.
The Vasa National Archives has become a vibrant partner in the historical community in Bishop Hill. The facility is a beautiful tribute to the Vasa Order and its members. Our Endowment Fund is rapidly continuing on its way toward complete restoration. With those things in mind, I would like you to take a serious look at your personal future. If you as a Vasa member or anyone you know is interested in preserving Swedish immigration or the Vasa Order of America I would like to encourage you to remember the Vasa Order in your will. Your will is the last statement you will ever make so you want it to be a meaningful one.
District and Local Lodge secretaries have received the new “Collection Policy” from the Archives. Please encourage all members to check their treasures to see if they have Vasa materials and/or Swedish artifacts that would be approved for the VNA. Our Archivist will be happy to provide guidance if there are any questions.
I want to take this opportunity, as we enter “Convention Season” to congratulate all district officers for their time and commitment in the past term and congratulate those who step forward to serve in the coming term.
In Truth and Unity,
PGM Bill Lundquist, President, Vasa Order National Archives
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