January was a month of fighting historic low temperatures and a bit of the white stuff, but steady progress continued on the site.
On the inside of the 1895 building, interior framing finished, and plumbers and electricians began their work. The basement was also excavated further creating higher ceilings to store the MVM collection. Just this week, gravel was poured in the basement, and concrete will soon follow. It’s getting easier to imagine the finished rooms and their future uses now that all the interior framing is complete.
Outside, siding work continued with additional shingling being installed on the upper half of the building. The original 1895 Marine Hospital had shingling as well. Although the frigid temperatures delayed the full excavation of the Fresnel Lens Pavilion and the Vehicles and Vessels large object building, a slight warm up late in the month allowed the excavators at Keene to come and slowly dig out the frozen ground. Footings are being formed for both additions with the first concrete delivery for these structures coming next week. A time lapse camera is now live, which will document the construction of these two new buildings. If you’d like to see it, click here. (Make sure to play around with the calendar settings as time goes on to get the full time-lapse effects!)
For those of you missing the web cam that overlooks the Lagoon, we certainly plan to re-install it at some point. Right now there isn’t electrical and wifi access in the attic to do so during construction. We miss it too!
Back in Edgartown, the staff is very busy doing a lot of winter cleaning and organizing of everything that isn’t part of the Museum collection. Just today, while cleaning out the side eves of boxes, staff discovered visitor logs to the then “Dukes County Historical Society” from the 1940s-1960s. Although a tedious process to go through so much “stuff,” it is fun to see how the organization has evolved in its almost hundred-year existence.
Later this month, the team from Museum and Collector Resource (MCR) will be arriving to begin professionally packing the collection for the eventual move. Lampist Jim Woodward, aka “The Lighthouse Guy,” will be coming to the Island in April with his team to disassemble the 1854 Fresnel Lens (including all 1,008 prisms!), and restore it. To learn more about this process, click here. The Lens will be one of the last objects installed at the new Museum late this fall.
In addition to cleaning, staff is spending A LOT of time planning this winter. How will school field trips work to the new site? How will the volunteer program be run? When will tours be offered? What kinds of programs do we want to host when we first open? How will the cafe operate? What point-of-sale system should be used? If we listed all of the questions that keep us awake at 2 in the morning, we might have a nervous breakdown. One thing is clear: we are all relieved to be having a soft opening in the quieter off-season to give us time to work out the kinks before summer 2019 hits!
Join Us for a Hard Hat Tour!
We’ve promised hard hat tours, and we’re finally delivering on that promise. The public is invited for a tour of the construction site on Thursday, March 8th at 4pm (inclement weather date of March 15th). Reservations are required, as we need to make sure we have enough hard hats for everyone. Participants must wear close-toed, rubber soled shoes and be willing to sign an insurance waiver before entering the building. If you’re interested in attending, please call Madison at 508-627-4441 x119. If there is high demand, we will try and schedule another shortly after. Once the weather improves, hard hat tours will be offered more frequently.
We’re so appreciative of the public’s interest and excitement surrounding the new museum. Although it is a very busy time for everyone at MVM, sometimes we have to force ourselves to take a step back and soak in just what’s happening. Our dream of giving the Island the state-of-the-art cultural center it deserves is quickly becoming a reality!