Your support will help us create a place where WCHS can better preserve and exhibit artifacts, and share the history of Washington County.

The Situation

In the near future, Washington County Historical Society facilities will run out of space, which will severely affect our ability to collect, preserve, and exhibit the County’s historical artifacts and records. A larger facility will allow the Society to better preserve and exhibit the artifacts that tell the stories of Washington County.

Goals for New Facility

The WCHS collects, preserves, and disseminates the history of Washington County and the state of Minnesota.

Collect: WCHS is running out of proper storage space in its current facilities. Once the Historical Society accepts a donation it is in the collections forever. The new facility must allow the WCHS the space to collect past, current and future history of the region.

Preserve: Once an item is accepted, it must be preserved for the citizens of today and tomorrow. Without proper storage to take care of an item, WCHS cannot accept the item. The new facility must allow the Society to preserve the collected history for now and those that will come after us.

Disseminate: WCHS collects stories of Washington County’s residents, businesses, etc. and tells those stories through exhibits, publications and public forums.

The Historical Society serves a great variety of people – from the tourist, the genealogist, the master’s thesis researcher and the elementary students – to name a few. The new Heritage Center should be a place where young and old can gather, learn and enjoy the past while looking forward to the future.

Features of our dream facility include:

  • Approximately 20,000 square feet of space
  • Commercial shelving
  • Warehouse door of 14’6”
  • Dry sprinkler system throughout building interior
  • Outdoor sprinkler system
  • Built-in reception desk
  • Built-in storage files
  • Restrooms
  • Lot size large enough to allow for expansion

Renovation

In addition to the asking price, the Society estimates that an additional $1.0 million might be needed to renovate the building to make it meet museum standards, bringing the total amount needed from individuals, corporations, foundations, and state and federal grants to approximately $4.5 million.

Society board member Mark Balay, a historic Architect, and his assistant Martina Foss, completed floor plans and sketches of what the WCHS is looking for in renovations of the building to make it a workable Heritage Center. The WCHS received help in addressing the costs of the renovation from Jeff Peterson, a commercial building estimator with the George Olsen Construction Company, the company that originally constructed the building 15 years ago.

Location

WCHS desires to locate the Heritage Center as close to the geographic and population centers of Washington County as possible, along with easy access to a major transportation artery, to ensure maximum use and to promote the fact that the facility is truly a “Washington County” entity.


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