She first visited the NCSML the year its collections were moved to a commercial building on the current museum campus with the intention of making them permanently available in public exhibition. That was 1981. Now, collections are available for viewing on the internet, to be enjoyed by anyone anywhere. Just think what the options will be 37 years from now!

Legacy Society member Paula Hughart included the NCSML in her estate plans so others could enjoy and experience the types of things from her cultural heritage that have brought her joy over the years. Connecting the past to the present for the future enrichment of others inspired her decision.

“I lived with history,” she said. “My grandfather came to the United States in 1921 when he was 27 years old. So I heard first-hand stories of life in Czechoslovakia and of coming to America to start a new life. I grew up loving the Czech culture and speaking the language. I had a friend who said ‘know another language, know another world.’ It is so true.”

Paula’s grandfather lived with her and her mom, who was his daughter, until he died at the age of 96. What she learned from him is what she hopes she can help the museum share, thus inspiring her estate plans.

“I did it generally because I want others to know that it’s a big world out there and different cultures express themselves in different ways with folk art and more. The Czech and Slovak cultures are rich ones. I hope others learn to love them like I do.”

A long-time member of Western Fraternal Life Association (WFLA), she has always tried to stay connected to, and learn more about, her Czech heritage. Already a fan of the NCSML’s new online collections initiative, she was pleased to locate there some artifacts that a woman donated at Paula’s mother’s suggestion. “She donated the items right before the flood, so I was watching closely how the museum recovered.”

Legacy Society donors help assure that Czech and Slovak stories are shared for generations to come thanks to a strong, visionary, resilient NCSML.

“Mom and grandfather would be pleased with what I am doing,” she said.

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