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From Dion’s Desk… and Beyond

   

Here you will find insights, information, stories and fun from NCSML’s National Development Officer’s activities. Please contact Dion McInnis, National Development Officer for more information.

Guest Columnist

By Sarah Henderson, K-12 Learning Specialist Teachers’ influence continues for students long beyond the time they are in class together. Learn what Sarah Henderson says about how some of her teachers are now affecting students who visit the NCSML. I love history because Shannon McDonald,…

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Art of Joža Uprka

Museum Doings

There are several ways to connect to, and develop understanding about, cultures and people.  Academic study and intellectual discourse are two. So, too, are things like quiet reflection and appreciation, arts and crafts skill development, and social conversation.  All these, and more, are available to…

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Stories of Generosity

The Presbyterian Church served as sponsors for George Drost’s family; they were “displaced persons,” survivors of communism. “We were not victims; we were survivors,”  George said, explaining the new-found opportunity of freedom in the United States that enabled those who were aspirational to succeed in…

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Three issues of Slovo

Philanthropy and Opportunities

Whether you are trying to generate income for yourself or a family member, or for a nonprofit, a trust may be the solution to your goals.  Charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts are strategic tools for the philanthropically minded. With benefits for the donor,…

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Thoughts and Musings

One festival down, a thousand to go. And then comes November. There probably are not a thousand Czech or Slovak festivals around the country in October, but there might be! I attended a Slavic Heritage festival in Houston, and have a Czech festival coming later…

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Czech phrasebook

Culture and Connections

Larry — an NCSML member, donor, and friend of the museum — and I were chatting about a goal that he set for himself when he turned 40: He wanted to better connect to his Czech heritage. Both of his parents were Czech, coming to…

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Guest Columnist

By Cecilia Rokusek, President and CEO Our new President/CEO shares her excitement and thoughts about her role, the future of the NCSML, and her early impressions of the potential of what is to come. Dear friends and supporters of the NCSML, I am in my…

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History on the 8's

Museum Doings

Looking in the rearview mirror can help us find a better destination, historically speaking, that is. George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Many of the NCSML’s upcoming programs take a look at past events in ways…

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Stories of Generosity

Growing up, Steve’s parents challenged him to be open to all diversity – of thought, religion, cultures, social status, ethnicity, everything – and that process led to a life of learning as much as possible to see from different perspectives. When the NCSML mission and…

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Philanthropy and Opportunities

It isn’t “new math” that proves one equals two. Or that one sometimes equals three or four. In fact, it is pretty old math – the math of matching gifts. Matching gifts have been around for decades through employers, and they often appear when a…

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Thoughts and Musings

Storytelling is all the rage. Articles, columns, blogs, and presentations encourage people to share stories to improve sales, leadership, management, education, parenting — pretty much everything. There’s a lot of truth to that, but no one seems to discuss storylistening. Listening to and for stories…

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Culture and Connections

“Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height.”    — E. M. Forster from Howard’s End This quote comes to mind whenever I see,…

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Guest Columnist

By Becky Robinson, Development & Fundraising Events Manager If the NCSML has an event to raise funds, you can be sure that Becky Robinson is behind it. To her, the events are not just about funds, logistics, and details.  Find out what matters most to…

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Museum Doings

BrewNost is Sept. 14, but there are many events in August and September to get you in the spirit. Events at Iowa Brewing Company and Thew Brewing Company are sure to be fun and provide great times with friends.  But beer isn’t the only theme…

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Stories of Generosity

You’ll find a lot of names on the NCSML web site. They represent the generosity and commitment of those who make the NCSML’s mission and vision achievable. Individuals, businesses, and foundations provide gifts, sponsorships, and grants as planned gifts, in-kind gifts, and direct support. This…

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IRS

Philanthropy and Opportunities

The “giving season” of the year is coming – the months leading to the end of the year are when most people make their charitable contributions – and for donors who are older than 70 and one-half, one of the most efficient, effective, and beneficial…

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Thoughts and Musings

I was 12 during the summer of 1968, the period in which Andy Warhol was shot, Robert Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan, Abbie Hoffman’s essay The Yippies are Going to Chicago drew attention to the Yippie Manifesto , Richard Nixon was nominated as the…

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Culture and Connections

“Dej Bůh Štěstí” stands out on the can of beer. “God gives happiness” is more than a translation.  It is a meaning and way of life.  Life is about happiness, amidst the hard work, struggles, and challenges.  Together we toast, laugh, and live our lives never…

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Culture and Connections

Paula was excited to tell her friend, who is 96, that the kroje and other items that the friend had donated to the NCSML could now be viewed by anyone with internet access. Thanks to a new, ever-growing online collection of the artifacts housed at…

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Thoughts and Musings

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” Ralph Waldo Emerson  The NCSML holds an annual brunch for its Legacy Society members, those who have committed to including the organization in their planned giving and/or estate plans. The event thanks and celebrates members,…

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Philanthropy and Opportunities

Everyone has a past and a cultural history; likewise, everyone is part of the legacy of others. That is the reality from which fundraising for the NCSML stems. The lessons of the Czech and Slovak experiences transcend the specific cultures and pertains to everyone. On…

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Stories of Generosity

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…

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Museum Doings

It’s summer, which means the NCSML is constantly humming with activity. There is a great exhibition about the War Train of World War I, late night activities, free opportunities for families to visit on July 28, a breathtaking exhibition of large art pieces created with…

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Guest Columnist

By Dave Muhlena, Library Director One of the most familiar faces at the NCSML is that of Dave Muhlena, director of the Skala Bartizal Library. His longevity and contact with visitors provides him a unique view gleaned from 21 years of service and innumerable interactions…

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Guest Columnist

The NCSML’s president/CEO has had an incredible tenure of leadership and service covering nearly 16 years. On the eve of her retirement, she shares what is at the core of the organization’s mission and of the people who support it. On my bulletin board is…

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History on the 8's

Museum Doings

It is sadly so far off the mark that one has to wonder how it ever could have been said:  “The war to end all wars.” Though attributed most often to President Woodrow Wilson, the originator was actually science fiction writer H. G. Wells in…

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Stories of Generosity

She has a motivational message on her desk that has been there to encourage her daily for years. It reminds her – “keeps me grounded,” she said – that each day should be used to make a difference because all that we have is the…

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Philanthropy and Opportunities

The word “philanthropy” originates from Latin and Greek words that mean “love of mankind.” It is usually that love that inspires contributions to causes. It comes from a donor’s heart and soul, and the donor seeks the same in the organizations to which support is…

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Thoughts and Musings

Václav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic, said, “Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.” Staff members, friends, members, and donors of the NCSML illustrate…

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Culture and Connections

Walking along the street in Pilsen, learning about the tile murals that tell the story of the history of Czechoslovakia, I became immediately intrigued with the story of Jan Ámos Komenský. He was loved and hated, respected and denigrated, honored and decried. He was understood…

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Guest Columnist

By Nicholas Hartmann, Ph.D., Director of Learning and Civic Engagement The NCSML’s director of learning and civic engagement guides program developments based on understandings and curiosities he developed early in life. Learn about his perspectives and how they affect the NCSML’s programs.  When I was…

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Museum Doings

The NCSML has unveiled a new set of lessons based on the dramatic 20th-century history of Czechoslovakia and its culture of dissent and its aftermath, through the Charter 77 movement, to the 1989 Velvet Revolution. These events are not just historical, but relevant and educational,…

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Stories of Generosity

“Yes, I have worked hard,” she said, “but that opportunity wouldn’t be there if all those other people before me weren’t as hard-working and resilient as they were. Honoring their tremendous work ethic is easy. I am the beneficiary of all that, and the chances…

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Philanthropy and Opportunities

One of the most beautiful aspects of philanthropic decision-making is that it often looks forward and back at the same time. Donors seek to improve the future of their beneficiaries with donations, and often they do so in honor of someone from their past, such…

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Thoughts and Musings

As I listened to Kevin McNamara deliver his presentation based on his book Dreams of a Great Small Nation, which is based on the Czechoslovak Legion’s achievements on the Trans-Siberian railway during Word War I , I also watched the reactions of the audience that…

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Culture and Connections

Art removes borders. It breaks down barriers, too. At the NCSML, art plays an important role in our programs, exhibits, and even the store. It also opened the door to a conversation I had with a woman who wants to repatriate some sheet music to…

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Guest Columnist

By Sarah van Deest, Director of Event Services Growing up, I never attended weddings. Not a single one until my senior year of college, when my roommate’s brother got married and a guest couldn’t make it at the last minute. At that, I was only…

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Guts & Glory: The War Train that Shaped a Nation

Museum Doings

A century ago, a nation was born; a half-century ago it was invaded for having the audacity to want freedom for its people; and, just over a quarter-century ago it boldly claimed through non-violence that it and its people would be free again. Imagine what…

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Philanthropy and Opportunities

Philanthropy is about the haves and have-nots, but not in the way you might think. Imagine being able to give others incredible experiences that you have had, or help them avoid some of the challenges that you’ve encountered in life. The joy of philanthropy is…

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Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk

Thoughts and Musings

The music from the late ‘60s touches my heart and evokes wonderful memories. As I now listen to tunes of my youth, I see the era through sepia filters of nostalgia, and clearer lenses of history. The museum’s mission is how stories of the past…

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Culture and Connections

Imagine the very act of creating art being an act of dissent. At a  68.77.89 presentation and discussion held at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington, D.C., on March 16, the topic was the art of dissent and the message was as surprising…

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Stories of Generosity

The Korvas Family: Helping People Help People Help the Museum Tony and Cathy Korvas believe in the traditions and stories about Czechoslovakia they heard from their parents. So much so, they started their own tradition, and they do it in honor of their parents. For…

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Faces of Freedom exhibit

Museum Doings

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…

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Woman looking at Kroje

Philanthropy and Opportunities

2018 has arrived, and your donation plans for this year may be affected by the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. While many are forecasting negative outcomes for nonprofits, we have reason to be believe that significant new opportunities exist within the bill…

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Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk

Thoughts and Musings

The first president of Czechoslovakia was born on March 7, 1850. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, whose father was Slovak and mother Moravian, personified resilience—of thought and action during positive times and challenging ones. The consistency of resilience in Czech and Slovak history intrigues me, inspires me, and…

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Train tracks

Culture and Connections

Creating and sharing through art and culture helps to develop connections and understanding. The NCSML’s role in that sharing drew me to this organization. Individuals create from the inspiration that takes root from their life experiences.  Viewers and readers cannot help but be affected by…

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