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Museum improvements to result from $20K grant

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NASHVILLE – The Howard County Museum received a $20,000 historic preservation grant on Tuesday. Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin and Director of Department of Arkansas Heritage Stacy Hurst presented the grant money at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, a museum in Little Rock.
According to Freddie Horne, chairman of the Howard County Historical Society, the historic preservation grant can be offered in one of two categories – the first to bring the building up to the national registry standard and the second in which the building is already on the registry list and grant seekers have to raise $10,000 to be awarded $20,000.
The Howard County Museum was added to the national registry list in 1976, so the grant received fits into the latter division. Locals have diligently worked to raise the $10,000 to be eligible for the grant.
The first improvement on the agenda list for the museum is to electrically rewire the building and add outlets. The building only has four outlets as of right now. When it was first built, it did not have electricity, but was heated by stoves. Horne is also hopeful in adding central heating and air to the building.
The next step in the restoration process will be the exterior of the structure. Trim will be replaced and the entire building will be repainted. The estimated cost for the exterior renovations is $15,000, but because volunteers have donated their time and labor to the project, Horne hopes to decrease that number drastically and use remaining funds for other areas of need in the building.
A photograph from the 1950s will guide workers in knowing what the building should look like, and Horne said it will be kept as close to the original as possible.
The last step in the current restoration plan will be to replace the windows. Florentine float glass with a daisy pattern will be used, with an estimated cost of $9,000.
Twelve months is the allotted time-frame to complete the restoration project, but Horne says his goal is to have most of the work done in time to have a Christmas event this year.
For the Christmas event, Horne hopes to have completed the chapel area of the museum. It will seat up to 125 people and will be open as an event venue in the future.
Horne also hopes to hire a part-time employee to keep the museum open on a regular basis once renovations are complete.
Items such as 19th century pianos and organs have been donated to the museum and current artifacts are undergoing an inventory process. Horne says he hopes to switch out displays around every six months so the look of the museum never stays exactly the same.
The assumed restoration completion date is August 2016 or before.

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