Marysville Historical Society’s new digs to be celebrated March 19

MARYSVILLE — The new Marysville Historical Society museum has been under construction near Jennings Memorial Park for several years.

But the planning for the museum dates back to when the society acquired the property in 1986 for $50,000. Prep work and design started in 1999.

Today, the museum is almost done. Piping and heating has been roughed in, the drywall is being installed. Next up will be painting, installing floors over the cement foundation, and having a grand opening March 19 to coincide with the city’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

On Monday, the Marysville City Council approved an agreement that will provide the society $50,000 in exchange for use of the new facility for meetings and overflow parking.

The agreement was adopted by a 5-1 vote. Councilman Stephen Muller, who is one of the trustees, recused himself from voting.

Councilman Jeff Vaughan cast the lone dissenting vote, explaining that the request for city support could set a precedent for other groups.

“I believe there is a better way to allocate funds to groups such as this,” he said, suggesting the city’s hotel-motel tax as one potential funding source.

Since November, the Historical Society has been running an “over-the-top” capital campaign to raise $150,000 to finish the museum, said society President Ken Cage.

The society has $75,000 left to go after the city’s support.

The 8,000-square-foot building features a main exhibit room, named Rotary Grand Hall after the Rotary Club of Marysville gave the project an early financial boost with a $250,000 donation.

The building also has meeting rooms, a small kitchen, smaller exhibit spaces and an upstairs office.

The Grand Hall already bears the outlines of what will be a cityscape, with exhibits framed by building facades resembling a church, a car dealership, a pharmacy and a telephone store.

The exhibits won’t be moved in until work is completed, which isn’t expected until later in the summer. The only item from the society’s massive collection on site is a totem pole from Sitka, Alaska, that a local family donated several years ago. It will eventually stand in a corner of the main room.

“They have far more stuff than there is room for,” Cage said.

The society closed its former storefront location on Third Street downtown a year ago and rolled the money that would have been spent on rent into construction of the new building. The exhibits, ranging from vintage telephone equipment to boxes of old photographs, were put into storage.

By the time all the work on the new museum is completed, Cage said the Historical Society expects it will have spent about $800,000 in cash, all raised through bake sales, yard sales and other donations.

In addition, much of the labor has been donated.

Once in-kind donations are factored in, Cage estimated the building will be worth $1.2 million.

“It’s going to make it truly a really good community project,” Cage said.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

MHS capital campaign

The Marysville Historical Society is raising money to complete its new museum. A list of ways to contribute is posted on the society’s website:

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