The Charles Dickens Museum is a charitable, independent Trust that was set up in 1923 to create a meaningful memorial to the creator of A Christmas Carol and many other much-loved stories. Then – as today – the most valuable asset in the Museum's operations and future planning is the support the Museum receives from its loyal visitors and benefactors. Many groups and individuals have given generously over the last 80 years to make the Museum what it is today – a place of inspiration, enjoyment and education.
An open letter from the President of the American Friends:
This year, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Dickens's birth. Throughout the world, there are exhibitions, performances, readings, and film screenings to commemorate this milestone, all testaments to Dickens's enduring appeal to readers of all ages in all countries and in all eras.
This year is important in another way: thanks to a generous grant of $3.6M from the U.K. Heritage Lottery Foundation, the Charles Dickens Museum will have the opportunity to complete long-deferred renovations of 48 Doughty Street and also to create a state-of-the-art education center in the town house adjacent to it. These funds will ensure that the Museum, located in the Dickens's only remaining home, enters the Twenty-First Century as a unique cultural resource for all the world.
But the Heritage Lottery Foundation Grant will not be sufficient to complete this important work. The Museum must raise additional funds on its own.
The American Friends exist to further the work of the Museum and to support it through financial contributions that are fully tax-deductible in the U.S. We have established a goal of $50,000 for our campaign in support of the Museum this year. Our funds will be used to equip fully an interactive, computer-based learning center within the new education wing. If successful, our efforts will be commemorated by a plaque in the room.
To date in 2012, we have raised approximately $3000 toward our goal. Please join us with membership in the American Friends and by contributing as generously as you can.
Fred SchwarzbachProfessor Bob Patten reports from the Charles Dickens Museum, London
Robert L. Patten, Lynette S. Autrey Professor in Humanities at Rice University in Houston, Texas, is spending the academic year 2011-12 as Scholar in Residence at the Charles Dickens Museum and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. His latest books will be published this spring: "Charles Dickens and 'Boz': The Birth of the Industrial-Age Author" from Cambridge University Press, and "Dickens and Print Cultures," vol. 6 in an Ashgate Press series of reprints of important articles and chapters about Dickens published in the last half-century, accompanied by substantial introductions. He writes a blog for the Charles Dickens Museum telling about some of his experiences during Dickens 2012, and will update US Friends from time to time.
Dickens 2012 is an international group of people and institutions who work together to deliver a year-long programme of events and activities to commemorate the birth of Charles Dickens, which falls on 7 February 2012.
Following Dickens’s own agenda, our program is designed to make contributions in the fields of culture, learning and the community. We hope that by 2012 people all over the world will be inspired to participate in our campaign and enjoy the extensive festivities.