Monday, August 1, 2011

Leaving a Legacy to Your Profession

Well, my brother the attorney finally convinced me – I’m not getting any younger (the big 50th birthday hit me last fall), and it was time to think of where I wanted my millions (well, maybe a few thousand) to go after I’m done with it here on earth.  Yes, it was time to draw up my WILL!  It gave me sort of a spooky feeling to be thinking of planning for my death, but I must admit that I did want to make up my own mind about where my hard-earned money would end up.

My husband and I gave this a lot of thought over many months.  We were not able to have children, so the option of leaving any funds to our kids was off the table.  Along with my twin brother, I’m the youngest in my family, as is my husband in his.  We figured our siblings could cope on their own, so maybe we’d look toward the next generation.  We’ve lots of nieces and nephews, we thought, so let’s help them out!  Of course, none of them have chosen the lucrative museum field, so they’re actually making or likely to make much more in their chosen professions than we ever will.  Okay, so they don’t really need the bequest.

So…what to do with the bit that we are squirreling away?  Charities and educational foundations, of course!  We’ve come up with a few crusades that are very near and dear to us – a scholarship for high school students (my husband taught for 30 years), funds for homeless kitties (cats make great children!).  And lastly, a cause that is nearest and dearest to my heart: Museums!

Once I thought of that, all was clear.  What have I spent my first 27 years of professional life doing?  Working for museums!  What is the one organization I have had a membership in for all of those years?  VAM!  The Virginia Association of Museums has been valuable to me since I first joined as a graduate student in the early 1980s, and it’s remained a crucial part of my professional life ever since.  Now that I have been on the VAM Council for several years, I have come to see how the organization works behind-the-scenes for its members.  And, clearly, I have come to realize that VAM cannot survive without support both now and in the future from all of us.  I can work in the museum field for another 27 years, and will remain on the VAM Council until the organization tires of me, but the best thing I can do for VAM is to name it as a beneficiary in my will, and that’s what I’ve done.  It won’t be a huge amount of money that will come to VAM in the end, but every little bit helps. 

Come on, VAM colleagues, think ahead and plan for not only your future, but VAM’s as well!  Draw up your will, and include the Virginia Association of Museums as a beneficiary.

- Tracy

Tracy J. Gillespie
Historic Site Supervisor
Aldie Mill Historical Park
Mt. Zion Historical Park/Gilbert's Corner Regional Park
Properties of Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority

No comments: