Our new preservation storage addition is filled! We have sorted artifacts and items to put on the shelves. There are a few details that need to be finished, but it is ready for occupancy . The process of moving into the facility went well. We purchased appropriate shelving and repurposed some from the Livingston Center (former American Legion). Habit for Humanity helped us in designing and building our clothing storage. There will still be lots of supplies needed: archival tissue paper, boxes and containers, as we prepare these items in their new space. These will have to be purchased, so it depends on the amount of funds we can secure for this purpose.
Every item has had the dust and dirt removed, but when things are cataloged or exhibited, they will need an extra touch up or cleaning before being stored or shown. There is a small selection of some items we found interesting in digging them out of the Livingston Center on exhibit in the lobby. We can use volunteers moving forward to do some scanning and helping with cataloging, if you are interested please call the office (715-536-5652), and we will add you to the list.
As of September 13, 2021, we have officially vacated the Livingston Center (American Legion) as our Collection Center. This building has served us well over the past 20 some years. When purchased from the American Legion Post, the City of Merrill put a condition on the deed that if the Historical Society ceased to use this building as their Collection Center, the land, building and all improvements were to become the property of the City. The Society had hoped, since we found a buyer interested in preserving this historic building with a great community purpose of creating an Art Center, that the City would gift us the land and allow us to sell it and recoup the money we have invested.
After many Board of Public Works committee meetings, it became clear to us and Jon Malm, our potential buyer, that the Historical Society would not be able to grant all the things necessary to make this a saleable building - i.e. the parking issues, easements to the building, and rezoning possibilities. In addition, we were not moving forward in having the condition stated above removed, to allow us to sell the building. Therefore, we are stepping out of the middle, and are hoping that the City will be able to move ahead in an agreement with Mr. Malm to make this vision of an Arts Center a reality and keep this building functioning and cared for. This seems to be the best solution for us all.
We do hope that at some point when the building is sold, the City will consider at least refunding our purchase price of $20,000 and giving us a sum of money from the sale for our ownership and care of the building for 20 years.