As another summer comes to a close, the volunteers of the Millinocket Historical Society noticed that there was a bit more to be thankful for just after the last yard sale of the season. On Thursday September 20th the Millinocket Historical Society received another grant from the Davis Family Foundation for $25,000.
While the historical society came very close to meeting last year's yard sale numbers, the news of this grant boosted the moral of the volunteers and gave the go-ahead for the purchasing a lot of the necessary phase one construction materials.
As funding sources have become more competitive, due to a slowing economy, high energy prices, and other such factors, the Museum needs to obtain additional outside funding to open its doors for its targeted date of 2013.
The Millinocket Historical Society has endeavored over the past five years to establish a formal museum to house and display the 100 year history of the Katahdin region. To date, the Society has occupied a small room on the top floor of the municipal building to house some of its collection. In 2007, with the help from the Town of Millinocket, the society found a suitable building to become the permanent home for the Museum. Since that time, many fundraising efforts including the generosity of the Davis Foundation, the Margret E. Burnham Foundation, and the KARE grant committee, has helped to repay the town much of that investment. These funds also helped to purchase initial core materials, and set fourth an aggressive remodeling effort to enable the first floor to be operational by the spring of 2013.
During the summer and fall of 2011 new windows were installed and some electrical work was completed. Throughout the winter of 2011, significant demolition done by David Cyr and Mark Bigge allowed the first floor interior space to be opened up. During the summer of 2012, volunteers were hard at work on their yard sales, turkey supper, calendar and book sales. The next step in the renovation process, winter of 2012, includes the installation of a support beam, handicapped bathroom and entrance ramp.
What has sold this vision of the future museum to the many grant sources has been the architectural vision of David Cyr. By opening-up the center area of the first floor, the visiting museum patron can see the outlining first floor theme rooms, and as time progresses, the second floor will offer even more theme rooms to explore. This vital first step will require a lot of core materials and volunteer time, but combined with the devoted volunteers and generous donations this first step has already started off with a very welcome grant.
Phase one construction is the main floor rebuild; the furnace installation, installation of the chimney, the installation and mounting of the main support beam, wiring, lighting, plumbing, sheet rocking installation of the handicapped bathroom, installation of a front entrance, handicapped ramp, flooring and ceiling. While the much of the work has been done free of charge, there are still outside engineering services that are needed to proceed.
By getting the first floor of the Museum operational, we can generate an additional income stream to further the final project. The Maine Department of Tourism has estimated that 220,000 to 240,000 visitors annually pass through the Millinocket, East Millinocket & Medway corridor. These numbers flowing directly past the new museum, every day, equals high visibility, and greater visitor traffic to the museum.
The Millinocket Historical Society has deep community connections, and benefit from their assistance annually. Each year the Knights of Columbus assists us in our yard sales, the Elks Club and Catholic Church have opened their doors to allow us to put on fundraising suppers, the Masons contribute quite generously, as well as many member, and non-member supporters that have assisted in this community project.
The mission of the Millinocket Historical Society is to collect, catalog, preserve and display the history of the town of Millinocket. Our goal is to present a visual history to those that venture north, for those of us that are curious by nature, and most importantly, educating the adults of tomorrow.
Our goal to have the first floor operational by the spring of 2013 really depends on acquiring the necessary funding. The ability to open-up our doors to the public, five to six days a week would generate enough operational capital to continue the construction on second floor.
Our efforts to build the Central Street museum are progressing at an impressive rate. The volunteerism and generosity that has moved this project thus far is outstanding, but the journey is not over.
Lastly, from the entire Millinocket Historical Society and its supporters, we would like to thank the Davis Family Foundation for this most welcome grant.