An unexpected treasure at the British Museum

The British Museum in London is the first national public museum in the world. It was founded in 1753 and tells the story of human civilization from its earliest days right up to the present. With over 8 million objects in its collection and tens of thousands on display at any one time, it is both massive and daunting, humbling and inspiring. It is also free. From the very beginning, the Museums' founders granted free admission to "studious and curious persons." In 2018, I was one of them.

While, I had too little time for so many treasures, I counted down the top ten listed in the tour book: The Rosetta Stone, The Portland Vase, The Cat Mummies, The Elgin Marbles and other wonders, like the Colossal Granite Head of Amenhotep III, an Egyptian pharaoh who ruled between 1390 and 1325 BC, and the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial Helmet thought to belong to a 7th century king.

True to its slogan, this is a Museum of the World for the World. But it started with one man: physician, naturalist and collector, Sir Hans Sloane. To preserve the 71,000 objects he collected and prized during his lifetime, he bequeathed it all to King George II for the nation to enjoy from then on.

To date, more than 350 million people have visited the British Museum. And, thousands have worked to procure and preserve its mighty treasures. As I walked from wing to wing, I couldn't help noticing the plaques acknowledging the many generous donors who had given millions of dollars or entire collections to the Museum over time. However, I also noticed the small collection boxes. On each one, a small sign suggested a $5 donation to enter the exhibit. It made me realize that even a place with all this history and splendor relied on many small donations to continue to run. Just like the Phil.

Everyone has a part to play in this orchestra. Just like the British Museum, we count on thousands of people to keep the Phil operating every day. Our funding comes from a variety of sources, including ticket sales, grants, sponsorships...and donations, big and small. Every gift matters. Every gift helps us bring beautiful music into our community this season and the seasons to come. One man started the British Museum, and one person - you - can make a difference for the Phil.

Whether you can give $1,000, $100 or $10, every donation makes a difference. And right now, during our matching gift challenge, your donation goes twice as far. For every dollar you give, an anonymous donor will match it.

Please help today by making your gift. We simply cannot do it without you.

We're going down the yellow brick road!

We didn’t get a color TV until the late 1960s. I was around ten years old before I saw the Wizard of Oz in technicolor, and I must admit I was pretty disappointed. Not in the show. I was disappointed it had taken my parents so long to join the Color Revolution.

Every time this magical movie came on, I was glued to the set, so I knew Dorothy’s slippers were ruby red. And, I knew she had to follow the yellow brick road to reach the emerald city. But, when she landed in Oz and said “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” I didn’t know the entire film changed from shades of gray to brilliant technicolor until we finally got a TV upgrade. That year, Glinda’s dress was perfectly pink. The Wicked Witch’s face was fluorescent green. And a field of dark red poppies put Dorothy to sleep. I was literally over the rainbow. No going back now. A musical without color is like a world without music.

Kids need great musical experiences in their lives. They especially need music in their schools. And, take it from me, the more colorful these experiences are the better. Our long-running Music Immersion program brings Phil ensembles into the schools and 2,000 local students into Memorial Hall for a great concert experience. It alternates with Carnegie Hall’s Link Up program, which we brought to the South Shore community in 2018. This year-long, in-school, interactive music program for third, fourth and fifth graders also culminates in a live musical performance with the Phil. Plus, kids have been attending mini concerts with Phil musicians since 1977 through our Look, Listen, Learn! program.

But we don’t just expect kids to sit in their seats. We want them to test-drive instruments and get up on the stage. Every year, children’s choruses perform with the Phil, and the winner of the South Shore Conservatory Concerto Competition takes home a scholarship – and a place center stage.

Yes, Dorothy, there’s no place like home. And, there’s no place like the Phil. Because of you. Your donations ensure our concerts and musical outreach programs continue – and thrive. Your donations compose a beautiful soundtrack to accompany our children’s lives.

It takes the heart of the Tin Man, the brains of the Scarecrow and the courage of that lovable lion to make it all happen. But every year, you do. And, this year, you can do more because of a generous Matching Gift Challenge.

For every donation we receive, an anonymous donor will match it dollar for dollar until we reach $200,000. Please take advantage of this rare opportunity to double the impact of your donation. Every gift makes a difference. Every day at the Phil is a gift.