By Terrica Hendrix
A grand opening for the Howard County Museum is planned for some time in August, with the date to be announced, according to Freddie Horne, who has helped lead the effort to preserve the structure.
The museum is located in the former Presbyterian Church and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The restoration process began at the Howard County Museum with foundation inspection by Olshan Foundation Specialists of Little Rock and Toland Foundations of Arkadelphia. No major faults were found in the foundation, Horne said.
This area had structural repair by the former owners. The Arkansas Department of Heritage suggested that no mechanical leveling should be done at this time to avoid possible structural damage to Gothic support beams in the chapel area.
A French drain system was added to the North and West sides of the building along with a gutter system that would help move water away from the building.
Inspection of the electrical system revealed that the system did not meet current electrical code for a public building. Evidence of a knob and tube electrical system was found as well as a more modern 20-amp breaker system, according to Horne.
All the original electrical system was removed, and the attic area of the building was cleaned of debris. A new service cable and metering system were installed by SWEPCO. A 200-amp master breaker box system was installed, along with new wiring through out the building – along with new switches and receptacles.
All of the museum’s electrical system was inspected and approved by the city and shown to meet or exceed current electrical codes, Horne said.
The rear entrance door had major damage and could not be repaired, so it was replaced with a new solid core exterior door.
Horne said that original sections of rotted siding were replaced, and major damage to the bell tower had to be repaired. This included stud replacement, underlay, installation of moisture barrier, and new siding.
All of the museum floors were refinished, and new restroom fixtures were added. The original church furniture and pews have been cleaned and repaired, and display cabinets are now in place and ready for artifacts.
Heating and air conditioning were installed during the second week of July, and touch-ups are being made to the interior. Some of the original doors and trim were not refinished.
Horne said there are plans to add a small parking lot in front of the building next to the street, complete the handicapped entrance, add sidewalks, exterior lighting, and landscaping.
The Howard County Historical Society is a 501(C)3 non profit organization. Donations are tax deductible. Volunteers, membership and donations are always welcome. Membership in the Society is $20 per year and dues along with donations may be mailed to HCHS, P.O. Box 555, Nashville, AR 71852.