MARYSVILLE — After more than 30 years of dreaming and planning, the Marysville Historical Society’s new museum is opening its doors to the public Saturday.
The museum held a “soft” opening in March 2016 to coincide with the city’s centennial celebration. The original plan was to open with regular hours last summer.
“We weren’t ready for a grand opening,” said Ken Cage, the president of the society’s board of trustees.
“We’re not ready yet, but I’ve determined we’ll likely never be ready. So we’re doing it anyway,” Cage said.
The museum used to be located in a cramped storefront on Third Street in downtown Marysville. The storefront was closed in 2015 and the contents moved into storage in order to redirect the rent money toward the new building.
The storage units had been provided free, but in late 2016 the owners rented them out, so the museum’s artifacts and exhibits had to be moved into the new unfinished museum.
“That made a real mess here because this was the only place we had to move it,” Cage said.
The museum cost about $850,000 to build, but once donated labor and other in-kind services were factored in, it’ll be worth about $2 million, Cage said.
Now nearly complete, the 8,000-square-foot museum has enough room to store the entire collection even if only a fraction of it can be on display at any one time.
“What’s nice is you can come out here and breathe,” said board member Morrie Sachsenmaier, standing in the main hall, which is designed with window displays in mock-storefronts.
The current displays feature vintage equipment from a dentist’s office and a beauty shop, plus old radio and phonographic equipment.
The pharmacy display is still incomplete, with stacks of boxes holding the collection of vintage bottles, some of them still partly full. Their torn labels, such as “Kodol Nerve Tonic” or “Feosol Elixir: A palatable liquid iron for children and adults,” might or might not accurately describe the contents.
A back room also has the museum’s collection of vintage telephones, lumber equipment, a player piano and other items that had been saved over the years.
In 1986, the Marysville Historical Society bought the property at 6805 Armar Road near Jennings Park for $50,000 to be the site of its future home.
The funding came from a wide variety of sources, from small donations to larger bequests from the Rotary Club of Marysville, which made an early $250,000 donation to get the project started. The city also contributed $50,000 in 2016.
Planning on the museum began in earnest in 1999, but the recession caused donations to dry up.
“It’s been starting and stopping and starting and stopping,” said Peter Condyles, 19, the youngest board member for the museum. He’s studying history and education at Western Washington University.
He became interested in the museum after a visit to the former Third Street storefront.
“I’d never really had a cause I’d believed in before,” he said.
Construction of the new museum finally got started in 2014.
“We had an awful lot of volunteer labor, donated materials,” Cage said. “We compare it to the old barn raising we used to have when all the neighbors would get together.”
The grand opening of the new Marysville Historical Society museum is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at 6805 Armar Road, next to Jennings Park. The board of trustees plans to recognize all the key people who saw the project through to its completion. The museum will be open until 4 p.m., with door prizes given throughout the day. The museum plans to be open Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., but check the website for updates: Marysvillehistory.org.