Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The highs and the lows of museum renovation

Nash Cox

I'm generally not very optimistic when it comes to calculating how long complicated projects are going to take, but so far have been pleasantly surprised at how smoothly work in the Lewis Gallery and library in the Lucas County Historical Society's big John L. Lewis Building has gone. We're repainting and recarpeting both of those rooms, then will add four new display cases in the military section as the collection is moved back in.

All of this is made possible by a grant from the Vredenburg Foundation, named in honor of the late Dwight and Ruth Vredenburg (the "Vee" in Hy-Vee), longtime friends of the society and everything else in Chariton.

Nash Cox and Bob Ulrich

It's amazing what a core crew of hard-working board and staff members can accomplish, including Kay Brown, Kathleen Dittmer, Karoline Dittmer, Kylie Dittmer, Nash Cox, Jim Secor and Bob Ulrich (I was there, too) with assistance from others when their schedules permitted.

The first huge job was removing thousands of items to storage elsewhere --- without breaking anything. That took only a couple of days.

The Lewis Gallery and the library are on the upper floor of the oldest part of the Lewis Building, completed in 1976. Additional wings have been added since and the Lewis now contains, in addition to those two areas, the commons room, museum office, restrooms and three other, larger galleries. The red carpet, which I'm sure seemed like a good idea at the time, has been in place since 1976.

We had the first of three paint sessions yesterday --- all the walls got one coat and a couple of walls, two. We'll be back Thursday to finish the second coat and work in the storeroom, where Jim had to do some work on the drywall. Then finish that phase of the project next Tuesday. 

On the Thursday and Friday following, our friends from Interiors & More will be there to remove and replace half the carpeting, then return on the Monday and Tuesday after that to finish up. As this work goes forward, picture rail will go up and after the carpet is down, new baseboard will be installed. Then we'll have about two and a half months to redeploy the artifacts that belong in these areas before opening for the season.

Nash arrived yesterday with drywall stilts (top), which meant that he got the challenging job of working high up. These work wonderfully, as long as you're agile, have good balance and don't need an item lying on the floor when there's no one in the room to hand it to you. He'll also be painting the ceiling molding --- probably the only person in the room capable of doing this neatly.

Jim Secor

Some items in these rooms are just too large to remove, so we're working around the wonderful secretary that came to us from Dr. David O. and Harriett (Copeland) Holman when they sold her  grand old family home in east Chariton and moved to Arizona a good many years ago. Two huge vintage cases in the military section also were a challenge.

But --- we discovered the miracle of inexpensive "sliders" that slip under heavy pieces of furniture and allow them to be moved around by a couple of people with relatively little effort.

Anyhow, this is what we've been up to at the museum this winter --- and look forward to showing off the results during an open house in June.

Karoline Dittmer

1 comment:

Unknown said...

you might consider what you need to do for Handicap accessibility like wider doors. Seems the Feds are playing a sort of Russian Roulette with City and County governments and are taking no prisoners from what I hear. It seems they are randomly selecting places for audits to determine if they are in compliance and if not you have a fix time frame for getting it done or the Government entity in charge gets no federal funds until it is in compliance. From what I am hearing, it means any place the walking public can go a person in a wheel chair has to be able to get there as well. It also means all your signage has to have braille equivalents and even hand outs have to be available for the blind in braille and all sorts of odd rules that have no exceptions.