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Lewes History Museum Making Strides in 2017

The Lewes History Museum campaign has passed the $1 million mark and the project is on-track for a ribbon cutting by July, officials from The Lewes Historical Society say.

The Museum will be the primary tenant within the new Margaret H. Rollins Community Center, taking 12,500 sf of the 14,000 sf facility.  “Proposed renovations and new construction plans were approved last week by Lewes City Council, paving the way for work to begin at once,” said Mark Chura, project manager.

“While it’s wonderful to have hit the $1 million mark in fundraising, we still have $1.27 million to go,” said Libby Owen, chair of the Museum campaign.  “The continued support of our community is deeply appreciated.”

It was recently announced that an anonymous donor will match every gift received by the Museum between December 2016 and 12/1/17.  Owen said that will “definitely help us achieve our campaign objective.”

“To-date, original cost estimates for Museum renovations are holding steady,” Chura said, “with the expense of new exhibit designs and fabrications still to be determined.”

Among the new elements being added to the Museum (former Lewes Public Library) building are:

  • A re-designed entrance lobby, with gift shop and receptionist’s desk;
  • Enlargements of the new Gallery for rotating exhibits;
  • Construction of an electronic exhibit honoring contributions of the past Mayors of Lewes;
  • Construction of a second floor office and open-space collections area

Renovations to take place throughout the building include wall repairs and painting, installation of hardwood flooring, upgraded museum-quality HVAC and dry sprinkler systems, window coverings to eliminate sun damage to artifacts, and refurbished restrooms and stair railings.

“The Main Exhibit Hall, Rotating Exhibit Gallery, and entrance area should be ready for visitors by July,” Chura said, “and a Community Meeting Room, to be managed by the City of Lewes, should also be completed.”

The Children’s Wing, featuring creative, interactive displays and activities, will take a bit longer and is forecast for December 2017.  A committee chaired by prominent author and educator Ilona Holland is preparing recommendations for that Wing.

“We are extremely pleased with the progress made to-date,” Owen said, “and with the very positive public response to the Lewes History Museum.  Our challenge now is to keep everything on track, including final fundraising.”

If you would like to contribute to the Lewes History Museum and its matching grant opportunity, please call 302-644-0107.