Finally, after weeks of preparation, new carpet started going down this week in the John L. Lewis Gallery and the Library of the Lucas County Historical Society's Lewis Building. We're going to push everything now concentrated in the west half of the gallery to the east half over the weekend so that the carpeting end of the project can be completed on Monday and Tuesday.
The project, funded in large part by a Vredenburg Foundation grant, also includes fresh paint on the walls and will include new display cases in the military section. Once the carpet is down and baseboard has been installed, we'll still need to paint the ceiling molding and install picture rail before moving back in. Until then, the museum commons room is serving as a giant storage closet. Even the men's restroom is stacked to the ceiling with boxes.
When this part of the Lewis Building was constructed during 1976, the walls were finished with a thin but very tough glued-on dark brown veneer that was intended to look like barn siding I suppose and a deep red and black figured carpet was glued to the floor. This made for a very dim display area.
The late Betty Cross, during her years as curator, single-handedly painted much of the Lewis Gallery white, but the Library remained very dark. We would have had to literally deconstruct the walls of this area in order to get that darned veneer off --- so paint really has been the only option.
The foam backing on the old carpet didn't give up easily, but give up finally it did --- and the new carpet tiles started going down. Our contractor for this end of the project is Chariton's Interiors & More.
We plan to have that part of the collection housed in these rooms freshened up a little and redeployed by the time the museum opens officially for the summer season during late May.