Big News! Museum Receives Large Grant for Building Needs

We have exciting news to share with our readers!

Hennepin History Museum is pleased to announce that the Minnesota Historical Society has awarded us a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant in the amount of $75,000 to support the creation of a Historic Structure Report (HSR) for our building!

What is a historic structure report and why does it matter, you ask?

“A historic structure report provides documentary, graphic, and physical information about a property’s history and existing condition. Broadly recognized as an effective part of preservation planning, a historic structure report also addresses management or owner goals for the use or re-use of the property. It provides a thoughtfully considered argument for selecting the most appropriate approach to treatment, prior to the commencement of work, and outlines a scope of recommended work. The report serves as an important guide for all changes made to a historic property during a project-repair, rehabilitation, or restoration-and can also provide information for maintenance procedures. Finally, it records the findings of research and investigation, as well as the processes of physical work, for future researchers.”

– Preservation Brief 43, National Park Service

Driving this report is a need to create a more modern environment for museum visitors, volunteers and staff, while retaining and honoring the historic character of the building.

IMG_0218

One of many lovely and distinctive historic details that make this building special.

Two major goals of the project will include:

  • Figure out how to implement ADA improvements, such as an elevator and accessible bathrooms so that we can better serve all members of our community; and
  • Assess the current over-all condition of the building and what repairs are needed to maintain our beautiful home.

 

stairs

We love these dramatic steps; we don’t love that we have no elevator. The HSR is a first step towards addressing that.

We’ve been working on identifying options and making building improvements all year, but the HSR will pull together all of these needs into one comprehensive report. This is the first step in what will be a multi-year project; once we know exactly what we need to do – and how much it will cost! – we can systematically go about making it happen. The end result will be a fully functioning museum facility that fully meets the needs of our visitors and our collection.

Some background: our building was completed in 1920, and used as a family home by Carolyn McKnight Christian. The Christian Family Residence is a mix of English Renaissance Revival and late English Gothic, built by Hewitt and Brown. Hennepin History Museum has owned and occupied the building since 1957. Make sure to follow along on our blog and on social media as we’ll be sharing museum and building history throughout 2018 (our 80th anniversary as an organization!).

entrance hall. from scrapbook.

Our main hallway shortly after the building became a museum

For more information about Historic Structure Reports, see https://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs/43-historic-structure-reports.htm.

And thank you, fellow Minnesotans, for supporting arts and culture through the Legacy Amendment!

In the meantime, if you would like to contribute to support local history – and to help us pay for all the work that has yet to be done! – you can make an online donation by clicking here.

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