Lots of progress has been made in the last few weeks. Mother Nature added her special touch last week covering the project site with a nice blanket of the white stuff (just enough snow to be pretty!)
Crews have been hard at work both outside and inside the building. Shingle work continues on the upper half of the Marine Hospital. The building originally had shingle siding on the top half in 1895, and we will be restoring it to mimic this appearance.
Inside, additional framing is being done on the first and second floors where small doorways that once held a single door into hospital wards are being widened into expansive openings visitors can easily walk through to navigate the new museum.
In the basement, the footing for the elevator shaft is ready for concrete, and more structural work is being done where the Fresnel Lens Pavilion addition will be constructed. Eventually, the foundation of the 1895 building will be torn down on the side that the Pavilion will connect to. Crews have slowly begun removing the brick now that the structure above it is secure.
Some members of the board and staff also got a sneak peak at progress before the holidays. Everyone was excited to see how the building is coming along, even if it was a little chilly during our visits!
Finally, back in Edgartown, the staff toasted the final day the Gale Huntington Research Library was open to the public. The Library will be used as the staging grounds for the collection, especially the 1854 Fresnel Lens, as everything is professionally prepared and packed to move to Vineyard Haven. We will be going into much greater detail about the collection move including how to move a lighthouse lens in future blog posts. The Library holds wonderful memories for a variety of functions whether it was research, school field trips, lectures, programs, meetings, or other things.
The Museum galleries in Edgartown will also remain closed for the winter to provide space to help prepare for the move. They will re-open for one final summer Memorial Day weekend. The staff will still be hard at work while the galleries are closed, and programs will continue at off-site locations.
We’ve gotten a lot of inquiries as to why the Marine Hospital building is lit up in every room at night. The answer is, due to the size of the building, we are required by federal law to light each room. The rationale being, in the case of an emergency, responders wouldn’t have to take valuable time searching for lighting amidst a construction site to help alleviate the situation. We’d like to think the building is keeping an eye on the entire Island watching out as the ferries go in and out.
As we approach Christmas, the site will remain mostly quiet until the new year. We hope everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday! Thank you for all your support and interest.