A Letter from David Marskell
Fifteen years ago this community came together with a dream of creating a gathering place for young families. Led by the tech sector and supported by the entire community $17M was raised, and Goudie’s department store was reclaimed to create the Waterloo Regional Children’s Museum.
What an amazing vision.
In 2006 I arrived and found hidden treasures of arts and culture around the community. With a stellar Board and dedicated staff, in time, our organization grew and matured. We took risks, introducing remarkable, unexpected exhibitions, speakers, and educational programs to a community hungry for new experiences. We curated exhibitions from China, explored the artworks of Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono, created the opportunity for dialogues on tough topics such as sexuality (Science of Sexuality), and secured world class exhibitions such as Our Body Within and Titanic | The Artifact Exhibition. We’ve also fostered significant collaborations such as QUANTUM: The Exhibition, working with the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing and Perimeter Institute.
Coincident with the Titanic exhibition The Waterloo Regional Children’s Museum was renamed THEMUSEUM of Ideas Transcending Objects, a transformative name that encompasses not only its original vision as an interactive place for children and their families, but now an expanded vision as a place for all members of the community.
As CEO of THEMUSEUM I have always believed in this community and its need for a vibrant center for arts, technology, creativity and ideas; a living, changing experiential space of performance, exhibitions, and dialogues, placing Waterloo Region on a larger cultural map.
THEMUSEUM can fill this need and there is now a tangible catalyst in the next step of realizing this vision: a gift of almost $1,000,000.00… from my parents. Here’s the story:
In 1939 my parents, Victor and May built, literally and spiritually, Lakeview Baptist Church in what is now Mississauga. They were never paid during their more than 60 years of service at the church. In addition to this passion, my parents were raising three sons, so my father worked delivering milk and my mother worked at the same dairy to help pay the bills. My parent’s vision, in their new community was to create a Church with a heart for youth. It thrived through the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s when smaller churches began giving way to regional churches and the congregation began to age.
With the passing of my parents, it fell upon my remaining brother and myself to plan the future of the Church. In an emotional journey over the last two years, a plan emerged to sell the building as a means of helping others. I knew in my heart our parents would approve. The property was sold last July to another church, predominantly of new Canadians, and a wonderful new circle of community life has begun.
With my brother’s support, I proposed that the Church Trustees allow me to shepherd the funds directly to THEMUSEUM, from one charity to another. The continuity from one community-led mission to another, felt like a perfect fit. It would create a permanent connection to the dream of Lakeview Baptist Church and my parents.
It is time we begin the next step and become the vibrant center for arts, technology, creativity, and ideas, fulfilling our vision to awe, inspire and enlighten.
Next year THEMUSEUM will celebrate 15 years of championing ideas, art, and technology. This donation will go a long way to helping THEMUSEUM establish a cultural hub in the heart of Waterloo Region and also get us closer to sustainability.
I believe so wholeheartedly in this institution that I’ve dedicated my parent’s legacy to its continued growth and success. And, as we look to the future, I implore the community to do the same. Please help us match this unique gift and encourage others to do the same. I promise you that gifts large and small are what build lasting, meaningful legacies. Like me, I am confident you will find it a worthy and fulfilling investment; something you, and your children, will be proud of allowing us to flourish and continue to awe, inspire and enlighten our Region and beyond.
When we succeed, our community will emerge smarter and stronger: other communities will look to us as an example of excellence.
I like to think my parents had a similar thought the day they stared at that empty field in 1939.