As soon as I read the job description for the national development officer position, I knew this was the job for me. Celebrating life, sharing stories, and amplifying the call for freedom and human dignity—what’s not to like about that mission? One of my friends said the museum mission sounds similar to my personal mission, and for good reason. It probably sounds similar to yours, too.

I grew up hearing about the pain and damage inflicted on the free will of people by oppressive powers and governments.  I watched my mom’s reaction to the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia as images and the news on our black-and-white Zenith television (her parents were Polish immigrants to the US). Story after story influenced my views about free will.   Stories.  And images.

The NCSML’s mission statement calls out the museum’s commitment to life and freedom. It concludes, “Our stories connect yesterday with today and tomorrow.” With a robust programming schedule and nonstop community engagement, the museum extends its sharing of stories and values well beyond Cedar Rapids. It is a national museum. Its cornerstone exhibition is Faces of Freedom, but there is so much more.

I’ve been around the block a few times, as the saying goes, but I am proud to admit the level of my surprise and excitement when I learned about the incredible variety of events, education, resources, exhibits, and more, that touch people around the world. “How does this team get so much creative, valuable work done?” I wondered. And then I discovered one of the coolest stores you’ll ever find, and an event facility that is truly awe-inspiring. Every breath taken by each team member, volunteer, and board member is used to share the purpose of the museum—its real purpose, not just its work.

I’m pretty high on this place. Join me; join the museum; join the sharing of knowledge and culture to celebrate people and the lessons of the journey to freedom.

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