Strawberry Hill Museum receives funding, Rep. Sharice Davids advocates for similar shuttered venues
By Emily Standlle
The Strawberry Hill Ethnic Cultural Society was established in 1988 as a means of promoting and preserving the heritage of Strawberry Hill in Kansas City, Kansas.
Housed in an 1887 Victorian Queen Anne style mansion, the Strawberry Hill Ethnic Museum and Cultural Center displays exhibits from Croatia, Denmark, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the Ukraine. According to its website, the museum was always meant to “celebrate the many nationalities of Kansas City residents.”
Before it opened in its current state, the Queen Anne belonged to the Cruise-Scroggs family, and was also home to children orphaned during the 1918 influenza pandemic. It’s one of those rare historical landmarks that has been thoughtfully updated, cared for, and utilized in a way that makes sense for the surrounding community.
Historical preservation is important—especially when it does work to honor the distinctive culture of KCK and Strawberry Hill. But as the pandemic threatened to wipe them out completely, museums, venues, and performing arts institutions across the nation wondered how they would keep the lights on.
As an answer in early August, Kansas State Representative Sharice Davids announced more than $12.2 million in pandemic relief in the form of Shuttered Venue Operators Grants. We previously wrote about Congressman Cleaver’s vote for similar funding in Missouri.
Davids joined over 200 bipartisan Members of Congress in calling for the Small Business Administration to expedite SVOG funds, which resulted in the approval of over 10,000 grants and $45.8 million for struggling Kansas businesses.
“These venues are the heart and soul of our community, and I’m glad to announce $12.2 million of flexible funding from the American Rescue Plan has been awarded to help them keep their doors open and staff on payroll,” says Davids. “After more than a year of challenges, these hard-hit businesses need our support. I will continue to use my position on the Small Business Committee to advocate for targeted relief to our community and root out the fraud and abuse that only hurts struggling small business owners.”
Thankfully, the Strawberry Hill Ethnic Museum and Cultural Center was one of many that received funding—Rep. Davids even went on a recent tour of the building.
“The funds from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program were vital for us to preserve the museum’s historic buildings and remain open to share our heritage with future generations,” says Adrienne Nastav, President of the Strawberry Hill Ethnic Cultural Society.
“We are grateful for Rep. Davids’ work to create this relief program and look forward to inviting the community back to the museum soon.”