Help save the International Cryptozoology Museum

Friend and well-known cryptozoologist Loren Coleman writes that his International Cryptozoology Museum is in dire need of financial support, else it might be closed down due to an IRS audit:

"The [IRS's] audit has gone to five or more levels of meetings and appeals, as I have attempted to explain what being a “cryptozoologist” is all about, that I do make my living this way, and that the museum is an essential part of the overall plan ... To the IRS, the museum verges on being a hobby ... and it needs more income (even if donations) to support itself ... The museum has to make money, or it ceases to exist ... I need to get donations to pay the mortgage for the house-museum where it is now, to keep it from foreclosure, and to pay for the other bills associated with the museum."

I've known about the museum for years and, altruistically, supported it in any way I can. Unbeknownst to me, I was one of the first two to contribute long ago on May 14th, 2005. Back then, Loren had some books donated that reeked of cigarette smoke and, due to allergies, needed to find them a better home. I offered to take them off his hands but, more importantly, to give him some cash to hunt up replacement copies for the museum.

This weekend, I offered my continued support:

"In the last 24 hours, the first “Museum Principal Donor / Life Member” contributed $1050.00. This individual “Morbus” challenges others to join him in donating at the $1000 level to [meet] the goal of keeping this institution open."

Please, do what you can to help the museum. The alternative is that this publicly available resource, in a field already entrenched with a lack of answers, will disappear. Even those who aren't involved or interested in cryptozoology should appreciate the need to keep this information easily available and approachable.

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IF you told people where the museum is AND urged people to come & pay admission, then perhaps you'd make some money. I want to come see your collection with my grandsons in Portland. I will be there on Monday, Dec.1, 2008--that's the Monday after thanksgiving. Can we come? I don't have hardly any money as I have been unemployed for the last year, but will give you something as the museum and continued interest in Bigfoot and Crypic science is important to me. please email me back and let me know if it is ok.
Karen

Dear All ~

My appreciation to Morbus Iff for his wonderful endorsement of the efforts to save the International Cryptozoology Museum. I thank him truly for his contributions to the cause, on many levels.

Regarding the comment here, first and foremost, Ms. Karen H. has my sympathy about being unemployed during these hard times. I hope she has had a secure source of some support that has assisted her through the last year. Living in Maine, in general, is hard, and she certainly has my empathy in this realm.

Now to the museum matters at hand:

As I have mentioned in my past museum communiques, blogs, and websites, I make appointments individually, via emails. But since Karen has posted here, I will address her remarks on Morbus Iff's blog. Future exchanges by anyone can be directed to me personally at lcoleman [at] maine.rr.com for further conversations.

Yes, many, many people have ideas of how I should run the museum and how I could make money from it. Of course, several of these have been explored, and out of these experiments, there are grounded reasonings behind the careful development of this collection in the way it now exists. However, evolution happens, and change is part of the museum's legacy and future.

In my relating the history of the development of the museum, I have answered the questions raised above, but I will go over the points, again. My apologies to those that have heard or read me say some of these things before.

I do not publish the address of the museum for the simple reason the museum is housed in my home. It must be understood that even as a minor television celebrity I have experienced some unfortunate situations, which, while not life-threatening, can be said to be cause for some concern, and definitely spill over into stalking and worse. I have sons, who live with me, and for personal safety reasons, I have never published my residence. It is not a "drop-by" museum.

Thus, I have visitors (e.g. fellow researchers, colleagues, documentary filmmakers, educators, trusted members of the public) by appointment only. These people are screened to make certain I am here, to make sure my sons are not, and to individually understand the nature and expectations of those that come here. I have had, for example, requests for kindergarten groups of 40, and the museum is not set up for that kind of traffic.

While I do charge for documentary and other filmmakers to come here from their site location budgets, I have not charged fellow researchers and general visitors to come into my modest home-museum to view the exhibits and talk to me (even though this does pull my time away from trying to make a living via writing). Needless to say, some people donate what they can, bring a crypto-object to give to the collection, or buy and have me autograph a book. Those funds are greatly appreciated.

The grand plan of the museum was to begin it on the first floor of my home, immediately in 2003, and then eventually expand and move it into a separate building by 2012, when firm fiscal footing could be established. When the separate location was found and funded, then admissions would be collected routinely. Admissions have not been charged due to the location of the museum, thusfar, out of fairness to the visitors.

Also, as the museum is in my home, visits must revolve around my availability. There are some periods of the year in which I am here every day. As it turns out, to keep the museum and my life afloat, I must take jobs writing, giving talks and consulting when and where I can, thus sometimes pulling me away from the museum location. For example, during the time mentioned above by Karen, when she wants to bring her grandkids by, I will be in Georgia (reviewing grants at the CDC) and in California (giving a talk on Sea Serpents). The museum will be secured but not open to the public.

The museum has existed since 2003, and it has been shown on television many times. During the 2009 season of MonsterQuest, it may be featured on as many as one-third of the new programs.

Now, the plan, with more robust fund-raising, is to move the museum into a separate, free-standing location by the end of 2009, and make it more open to a wider spectrum of folks. The just-ended 15-month battle with the IRS did not go well, and the only way to fully save the museum now is to actively move towards the "separate location" and "separate stream of income" requirements of the IRS, two objectives I want to meet in the next 12 months, or as rapidly as possible. Of course, this economy is not helping.

I have been cheered along by hundreds of supporters, and I know that thousands of folks fully support the reality of the world's only cryptozoology museum.

Thank you all,

Loren

Since this effort to help support Loren's museum is still going with a deadline fast approaching, I am doing what I can to help. As webmaster of BigfootMuseum.com and BigfootSurplus.com I have started a support page. This page is asking for people to list or bid on items placed on ebay. All with the idea of passing the proceeds on to Loren. Please donate directly to Loren's cause if you can, if times are difficult as is the case for most of us right now -- please hunt around for items to list on ebay then send send me the link so I can get it posted on the support page. If you have cryptozoology type items great, but items do not need to be related.

Visit the support page for more info at: http://www.BigfootMuseum.com and click on the "Save the Museum" banner.

Thank you.

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