BELPRE - The new Collections Preservation addition to the Farmers' Castle Museum Education Center is expected to be completed in January.
"We are so pleased with the progress that's been made; they are moving very quickly. We anticipate it may even be completed before the contract date of Jan. 14," said Nancy Sams, president of the Belpre Historical Society. The society volunteers operate the museum at 509 Ridge St.
"They really are doing a very good job," said Sandy Fuller, BHS vice president.
Photo by Pamela Brust
Rodney Huck works on the porch of the new addition to the Farmers’ Castle Museum Education Center on Wednesday. Huck, with Joe Huck Construction, of Waterford, Ohio, is the general contractor for the museum expansion project.
The stamped concrete porch and walkway leading to the main museum building are now complete, and some framing for the restrooms, office and mechanical room is in place as well as the framing for a large storage loft.
General contractor Rodney Huck of Joe Huck Construction of Waterford, said he's anticipating the sheeting for the roof will be arriving next week. Then the metal roof will be put in place.
"Once it's all under roof, they can start working on the inside," Sams said.
"With the large open-room design, the new space will be much more adaptable to multi-uses and we will be able to change out the exhibits much easier," Sams said.
The ceremonial groundbreaking for the new 50-foot by 50-foot addition, which is being constructed next to the current museum, was held in April, with actual construction getting under way in September.
The expansion will provide additional space for artifacts, memorabilia, exhibits and educational displays similar to those in the current building, which will remain in full use.
Total project cost is around $240,000.
David Haught of DLH Design, Marietta, was the architect for the project.
Anyone wishing to donate to the building project can send a donation to the Belpre Historical Society, with a note it is for the Farmers Castle Museum, to P.O. Box 731, Belpre, Ohio 45714. The museum is open by appointment only, by calling (740) 423-7382 or (740) 423-7588 and leaving a message. The nonprofit museum is operated by volunteers and includes an extensive Southeastern Ohio Underground Railroad permanent exhibit, based on research of local author/historian, the late Henry Burke of Marietta; memorabilia and artifacts from the area, including furniture, toys, farm implements, an old-style darkroom, cameras and equipment; Victorian-period furnishings, school exhibits, military items.
The museum is featuring Civil War memorabilia, including a slave collar and chains, battle maps, resources and research materials, books, and maps. Other exhibits include a restored 1840s carriage and working gear-driven wooden loom used to make rugs and teach the art of weaving. Visitors can try their hand on the loom and purchase rugs and other items, made during demonstrations, as well as local history books in the museum gift shop. The McManus Archaeology Collection represents 12,000 years of prehistoric history, including arrowheads and primitive tools found in the Belpre area. There is also a set of andirons, peppermill and backgammon game from the Blennerhassett mansion.
There is an Apple-Agriculture Exhibit with hand tools, saws and scythes, cider presses and apple barrels. An operating blacksmith shop contains the original forge and anvil from Shaffer's Mill and a 100-year-old workbench stands next to a man-sized manual drill press and pedal-driven router in a facility constructed in back of the museum by volunteers.
There is also genealogy information in the resource center with local family histories, diaries, heritage homes, burial records and other information for those searching for ancestors.