$150K needed to save historic Gaslamp Museum


SAN DIEGO — The Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation is fighting to keep the doors open at the Davis-Horton House, a historic building that is home to the Gaslamp Museum.

Built in 1850, the little yellow house is the oldest standing structure in downtown San Diego, according to the historical foundation. It’s where GQHF operates the Gaslamp Museum, a community hub that hosts the annual Fall Back Festival and other events.

After closing over a year ago, the museum is planning to reopen for limited hours beginning May 7 but a spokesperson says the historic building will close to the public if the foundation can’t raise $150,000 to keep the doors open. GQHF is struggling after its largest fundraiser, the downtown block party ShamROCK, was canceled two years in a row because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We rely on ShamROCK for over 70% of our operating budget every year. Losing the event for two years has been a huge hit to our organization,” GQHF Executive Director Rhiannon Luna said.

Luna and the GQHF team said they’ve tried every available avenue for funding, including applying at the private, local, county, state and federal levels. The grants and support are not enough to sustain the foundation and Gaslamp Museum beyond June, according to GQHF.

In an effort to keep the museum open, GQHF launched a fundraiser this month called Save the Gaslamp Museum. They are trying to raise $150,000, with every $15,000 keeping the museum open another month for house and guided walking tours.

Securing the funds will allow the museum to reopen five days per week. Donations will also go toward retaining museum staff, overhead for annual fall community event and continued maintenance on the historic Davis-Horton House, GQHF said.

The house will be open for self-guided tours Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and guided Gaslamp Quarter walking tours will be available on select Saturdays at 11 a.m.

The fundraising site for Save the Gaslamp Museum reflected $3,700 in donations as of Wednesday.

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