Offer accepted on Aberdeen History Museum location


Aberdeen History Museum focuses on a new home.

The city of Aberdeen’s offer for a new location for the museum has been accepted, the city’s museum board said at its meeting earlier this week.

“We heard from the owner and they accepted the city’s offer,” said Stacie Barnum, Aberdeen’s director of parks and recreation, who serves as the city’s liaison on the board. “So this will be presented to city council next week at its November 10 meeting. So we are moving forward.”

The location has yet to be disclosed, other than the city center, or the amount of the bid, as the deal still requires city council approval. In addition, the acceptance of the offer by the seller includes the time for a building inspection.

“Acceptance of the offer includes 45 days for the city to do a feasibility study, which is similar, I guess, to a property inspection,” Barnum said. “Once the agreement is signed, the 45 days begin. So I would expect signatures probably on November 12th and the (city council) meeting is on the 10th. “

If all goes as planned, it’s important to remember that it’s not like the collection can be moved to a new location and be open to the public right away. There will be a lot of work to be done on the collection and possibly on the building itself before it opens to the public.


The move will require a lot of volunteer hours and can be used to properly catalog items in the collection. Museum and History Board Chairman John Shaw recommended that the board form an ad hoc committee to develop a plan “for volunteer engagement with the collection in the future.”

Shaw also recommended that the council’s site committee, which has forwarded potential locations to the city since its formation shortly after the arsenal fire, to suspend its research activities with the acceptance of the offer of new building and focus on “what we hope will be a possible move and logistics on how this might work with the city and the staff and have them bring back ideas at the next meeting.” “

Shaw said the ad hoc committee will review recommendations to move the collection to a new building for the State Historical Society and others. This would include catching up with the collection database and reaching a point where volunteers could move around and collect documentation.

“The potential movement creates this moment to process a collection that I think is going to be unique,” ​​Shaw said. “We’ve been working to need to work on the collection, but heading into a movement is, I think, a great opportunity to take down some of those issues by being smart about how we run it, how we deal with it. engage and bring in Friends (of the Aberdeen Museum) and volunteers as part of this process.

The Friends of the Aberdeen Museum have taken care of the work of the old museum site and are experienced in its collection and operation. Board members Randy Beerbower and Ruth Hamilton – who is also a member of the Friends – were chosen to sit with Shaw on the ad hoc committee.

Fire apparatus

For many, the centerpiece of the museum’s collection is the vintage fire apparatus. It was damaged by the fire, and the council and city sought contractors to restore two of the parts, the 1927 Ahrens-Fox pump truck and the 1902 Metropolitan Steam pump truck. found, and council voted to forward the contractor’s offer to city council for approval.

“We had a great response from Vintage Vehicle Restorations – they would have been at the top of our list anyway,” said George Donovan, board member.

The restoration company is located in Harleysville, Pa., And offered a prize of $ 120,000 to restore the Ahrens-Fox pumper “to pre-fire condition with the engine running and everything to snuff. “said Donovan. To bring the 1902 Metropolitan back to a similar condition, it would cost $ 125,000, for a total of $ 245,000.

This does not include freight, which will need to be determined. The Ahrens-Fox can be shipped like most conventional vehicles, while the Metropolitan’s wooden wheels, boiler, and extremely heavy weight will add challenges to its shipping. Either way, it will be a long process.

“The estimated time to start the project that they were able to deliver would be late next year, and the estimated time to complete the project would be four years,” Donovan said. “It’s a meticulous process, they have to repair, manufacture and acquire parts.”

Council voted to forward the offer to City Council for consideration at its November 10 meeting. When Hamilton asked how the repairs would be funded, Shaw said the board was only responsible for getting bids for the restoration, it would be up to city council to decide how it would be funded.

When asked if the full cost would be required up front, Barnum said the city typically pays installments, or “progress payments,” on such projects.

The 1927 Ahrens-Fox pump truck was recovered from the Aberdeen Armory fire in June 2018. As it was charred, the engine was still running and it traveled the Founder’s Day parade route for a few weeks later. (Photo by John Shaw)

photo by John Shaw The 1902 Metropolitan steam pump was damaged in the Aberdeen Dockyard fire in 2018. An offer has been made to restore it along with the 1927 Ahrens-Fox pump truck, considered as a centerpiece in the collection of the Aberdeen <a class=History Museum.” loading=”lazy” srcset=” 1280w,×189.jpg 300w,×644.jpg 1024w,×403.jpg 640w,×755.jpg 1200w,×[email protected] 600w” sizes=”
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photo by John Shaw The 1902 Metropolitan steam pump was damaged in the Aberdeen Dockyard fire in 2018. An offer has been made to restore it along with the 1927 Ahrens-Fox pump truck, considered as a centerpiece in the collection of the Aberdeen History Museum.


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