Aberdeen Museum and History Board seeks public comment on new location

People will have the opportunity to share their visions of the new space that will house the Aberdenn History Museum.

The Aberdeen Museum and History Board of Trustees will host a virtual strategic planning workshop on Tuesday, February 1 at 7:30 p.m. to discuss the museum’s future location in downtown Aberdeen. The meeting will take place in lieu of the monthly board meeting.

“I hope this strategic planning workshop will be an opportunity to update the public on the progress of the museum, remind them of our current situation and ask for their thoughts and ideas on how to move forward. before, ”said museum board chairman John Shaw.

The city is in the process of purchasing the old Salvation Army building in the 100 block of West Wishkah Street. City staff, Rock Project Management Services (RPMS) and contractors have performed assessments on the building in the past 45 days. The RPMS estimates that $ 1.5 million is needed for fundamental improvements in life safety and basic cosmetic improvements.

While the primary purpose of the new building is to serve as city-owned storage space for the collection, improvements are needed before the collection can be safely moved downtown.

According to Stacie Barnum, director of parks and recreation in Aberdeen, mechanical and electrical issues need to be addressed before the move. There are also environmental concerns, including the presence of lead paint and asbestos. In order to store the collection safely, a security system must be installed and the fire monitoring system must be moved from the warehouse to the new location.

Improvements to make the space available for public engagement will occur in stages, and some will likely need to occur without the collection being present in order to ensure its safety.

The strategic planning workshop is an opportunity for the museum’s board of directors to develop their plan for using the new building and will help set priorities for improvement so that work can begin to make the space functional.

“The museum board has gone through three long years to get us to this point. The purchase of the building is going to refocus the discussion on what we do in the future, and there is definitely a need for an integrated strategy, ”said Shaw.

The museum board previously held two strategic planning workshops, the last of which helped create the matrix that was used to assess potential new museum locations.

Fundraising and volunteer engagement are top priorities for the board of directors following the purchase of the building. Aberdeen City Council has given the museum board the power to apply for grants to cover the cost of the improvements, as well as the $ 500,000 to hire a consultant to oversee the project.

Shaw believes the new building will serve as a place for volunteers, including the Friends of the Aberdeen Museum, to engage with the collection by creating exhibits and curating items. He is also hoping for a genealogical library in conjunction with the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society for archival work.

The building can quickly become a safe place for volunteers who wish to interact with the collection again, but broad public engagement is a distant future. In the meantime, the council will continue to identify its main goals for space and continue the process of rebuilding what has been lost.

“The Armory was considered an albatross at first, but over the years we have created a space that we have grown to love as a community,” said Shaw. “It’s still going to take many years, but it’s worth it: Aberdeen deserves a world-class museum.”

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