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Museum design
Momentum is building for museumís expansion posted on 03/01/2019

If you want to read every issue of Ski Magazine, Skiing Magazine or Snowboarder Magazine, you don’t have to go far. Every issue of those periodicals is part of the collection of the Mount Hood Cultural Center and Museum - and that’s not to mention skis from every era and corner of the world, photos from the biggest moments on Mount Hood and so much more.

And while many of these treasures now reside tucked away in the building’s basement, the museum hopes to make them more visible with an expansion project that will nearly double the current space. To fund the project, the museum has kicked off its Capital Campaign for Museum Expansion, with hopes to raise $20 million dollars and a plan to complete three phases over approximately 10 years.

“We’re excited,” said the museum’s curator, Lloyd Musser. “We think we’ll be a continuing benefit to the whole community, not just Government Camp.”

Musser noted the museum, which started 20 years ago, is in a healthy position, being debt-free and attracting approximately 25,000 visitors per year. It also has a financial reserve and started an endowment with a bequest from an estate.

But the building no longer has space for its archives, needs an expanded meeting space and can increase its visibility with an entrance closer to the street.

“This became the community center; town meetings regularly fill up to capacity,” Musser said. “It’s time (to expand).”

Phase 1 of the project would include the expansion of the museum’s “Clubhouse Gallery,” archives and deck. Musser noted this phase would be a “small chunk to bite off” as they get started with finding funding and it would offer some storage space to help hold collections during later phases.

“The deck is important in summer time for overflow parties and receptions,” he said.

Phase 2 would include expansions to the east and west wings, increasing exhibit space and improving the research library on the East Wing. This phase would also include reworking the museum’s roof line to alleviate ongoing damage from heavy snow on the current roof’s complicated layout.

Musser added that a new roofline could open the possibility for solar panels, although more research was needed to understand if this type of installation would be appropriate with the winter snow.

Phase 3 would include the creation of a new second-story event hall with a view of Mount Hood, which could be used for private parties, traveling exhibits and community meetings and would also feature an attached catering kitchen, while also expanding the gift shop and lobby on the first floor. The final phase would also include plazas on both sides of the museum, possibly featuring a food cart area, space for bikes, native plants and public art, with a space for a possible future Steiner Cabin exhibit (not included in the budget for the expansion).

Musser noted this last phase would help with some of the current building’s greatest limitations, including the cramped entryway, very limited space in the gift shop and the lack of visibility from the street. And while the event hall, with a capacity of approximately 200 people, would do wonders for the events such as the Social History Happy Hours that happen on the last Friday of each month and have trouble fitting all the participants, it would also serve as a perfect space for travelling and special exhibits.

“You can get travel exhibits from the Smithsonian,” Musser said. “We’d like to do more of them, but we don’t have space (now).”

Musser noted that the museum will seek out a large portion of the fundraising efforts from grants, but that they will also need to raise 20 percent of the total from donors.

Donors can already receive a fused glass sculpture for a $1,000 contribution, with more ideas for different levels of support, such as an honor plaque and possibly doing an inscribed brick campaign for Phase 3. Musser expects to visit local groups to discuss the project and even visiting house parties where he can encourage interested individuals to help.

In the meantime, the collection that inhabits almost every shelf and corner of the current building keeps growing, as people offer artifacts from Mount Hood’s history to the museum.

“I’m still amazed at what comes through the door every week,” Musser said.

For more information, visit mthoodmuseum.org.

By Garth Guibord/MT




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