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The History Museum on the Square is expected to open by summer 2019, according to Executive Director John Sellars.
Rendering provided by History Museum on the Square
The History Museum on the Square is expected to open by summer 2019, according to Executive Director John Sellars.

History Museum on the Square progresses

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After four years of planning, designing and developing, there is light at the end of the tunnel for the History Museum on the Square.

“We’re down to the point in the new museum where it’s becoming apparent that things are getting done,” said John Sellars, executive director for the museum. “For so long it was like a duck swimming. It was moving, but you weren’t seeing the feet. Now we’re down to the point where you’re seeing things actually happen.”

Sellars hopes to open the museum to the public in late spring or early summer of 2019 after the $12 million project is completed.

The project first began in 2014 and hit delays throughout development.

“If there was a delay, we found it,” Sellars said with a laugh.

The building went through an extended period of asbestos remediation, new roofs were added and the heating and air systems were upgraded to Smithsonian standards.

“When we got done with the asbestos all we had was a brick box,” Sellars said.

One delay not found was financial setbacks.

“We’ve been very blessed to have supporters that have stepped up and are continuing to, and new supporters that are stepping up to keep us on track,” he said.

Currently, electronic wiring is being placed by Pitt Technology Group LLC. Spray paint decorates the floor for item placement. Cases are all completed and are being stored in brown paper in the museum.

“The way it develops is from the walls out and we’re working from the top down, so the third-floor walls are done,” Sellars said.

With the upgrade to the building comes additions to the staff.

“In the near future we’ll be announcing some additions to our staff. Those will be coming out in the next few weeks where we’ll start doing the application and interviewing process,” Sellars said, adding the museum is looking for a total staff of nine or 10, up from five currently.

Companies involved with the museum project include Kenmar Construction Inc. as general contractor, Gallagher and Associates LLC as consultant, Sterling, Virginia-based Explus Inc. as subcontractor and Springfield’s Elemoose, which designed rubble for the museum’s Civil War area.

“The stories we’ll be able to tell and the things we’ll be able to reflect about this place we call home are going to be fabulous,” said Sellars.

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