NORTH ADAMS – The North Adams Museum of History and Science will store its artifacts and close indefinitely at the end of the month.
“As far as a place to go, it will take either a benefactor or a miracle to make it possible,” said Chuck Cahoon, president of the North Adams Historical Society, the group that runs the museum. “We don’t know how it’s going to go. I’m taking it one step at a time.”
Members will pack the items and place them in a storage space that Cahoon says is secure.
The museum, which had been housed for two years in a 5,000 square foot space in the Holiday Inn on Main Street, was looking for a new home as the hotel changed hands. Rhode Island-based Peregrine Group and Stockbridge-based Main Street Hospitality Group officially purchased the property in late 2021 and renamed it Hotel Downstreet.
Last month, the hotel said it planned to do some renovations and once these are complete, the museum could operate in a smaller space. But it doesn’t work for the museum.
“They gave us their vision for it, and I really don’t see a place for us there anymore,” Cahoon said in the fall.
Now the group says the hotel has informed them they must be out by the end of March.
“At this point and after an extensive search, the all-volunteer historical society has not found suitable space in North Adams for the museum,” a statement from the society reads.
The group considered other spaces in the city, Cahoon said. “We’ve seen four and know of two more. Due to their size, only two of them are adequate to hold the amount of stuff we have.”
But it’s too expensive to secure any of the long-term options, he said.
“We can’t afford it until we’ve done some serious fundraising. We don’t have time to do that now.” The company is looking for space that is 4,000 square feet or more and ideally ADA compliant,” Cahoon said.
“The word needs to get out that we need to find a suitable location for our future,” Cahoon said.
The museum opened in the Main Street space in fall 2019 after operating in the Western Gateway Heritage State Park. At the Holiday Inn, he didn’t have to pay rent and was responsible for utilities, Cahoon said.
The museum’s collection contains city documents, maps and directories and is a “comprehensive history of the city of North Adams,” a statement from the group said. Among other exhibits, it features exhibits on Sprague Electric Co. and Arnold Print Works.
“The focus was on workers and their families, neighborhood growth, the history of city politics, and the rise and fall of economic growth in North Adams,” the statement said.
Jim Bechtel has been a member for several years. “What really blows my mind is the extent of the connection that people who live in North Adams (have with the museum),” he said. bring mementos or mementos they hid.”
Although they plan to pack up their artifacts and exhibits soon, the group will continue to search for a new space.
“We fully intend to reopen as a museum when we find the right location,” Bechtel said.