Museum plans repairs, expansion |

Museum plans repairs, expansion

Blythe Terrell

Hayden Heritage Center officials are launching an effort to protect artifacts and expand their museum.

Heavy snow loads damaged a storage unit at the building last winter, and museum curator Mary Pat Dunn couldn’t even get inside to assess the problem until spring. The storage area contains historical wagons and sleds, she said.

“We were very lucky in that the snow did not damage any of the items we had,” museum board member Rebecca Wattles said. “The Hayden town was able to come in and prop up the building.”

But that’s no long-term solution, so the board plans to move the items for this winter and to raise money through grants to replace the shed. In the process, the board will expand the museum, Wattles said. The expansion could nearly double the museum’s size, Dunn said.

Preliminary estimates put the cost at $150,000 or more, Wattles said.

“Right now, at this point, we’re just trying to look at everything we possibly can to get the best structure for our needs,” she said. “We’re looking at things like some green alternatives.”

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Jan Kaminski with Mountain Architecture is working on a design, and Hayden area resident Kevin Copeland did a preliminary sketch, Wattles said. The board plans to add room for community meetings and more artifacts, Wattles and Dunn said.

Any changes or additions will require approval from the National Register of Historical Places. The building, which is the old Hayden Depot at 300 W. Pearl St., is on that register.

“We’re also looking for input from the community on this – the Hayden community – especially because our main concern is that we’ll continue to have room to accept artifacts from their family and their history that are from this area,” Wattles said. “Our focus is the people here in : the greater Hayden community.”

The board plans to appeal to local and state groups for assistance. Anyone interested in donating can call the Hayden Heritage Center at 276-4380.

The board will solicit “anybody that we can beg, borrow and steal from at this point,” Wattles half-joked. “We may be standing on the street corner with a coffee can.”

Dunn said she thought the museum would be able to raise the money, partly because people have become more aware of the center. Visitor numbers are up, which she said was particularly surprising during fall. Dunn said she rarely bothers to flip on the lights downstairs it’s so slow, but she’s had visitors in every day.

“We think we can do it,” she said. “We think the grants are out there; the community support is there.”

She said the museum was a crucial part of Hayden’s history.

“We’re trying to be frugal and wise so that we take advantage of what we can for the future, to take care of things that actually belong to the community,” Dunn said. “This is the community attic, lovingly displayed. : These are those hopes and dreams.”