By Meredith McCulloch
The report concluded the yearlong effort by the committee with a list of five potential sites for a museum, all in Town buildings. The Bedford Historical Society is eager to find a better location for its collection of artifacts, much of which is in storage, with only a small number on display in Society space located in the Bedford Police Station building.
The five properties on their “A-List” are:
- Bedford Fire Station (Re-purposed)
- Bedford Police Station (Built-New: addition)
- Old Town Hall with or without the George Swallow house (Re-purposed)
- Town Center West Wing (Built-New: addition)
- Town Hall Multipurpose Room (Repurposed with 2nd floor mezzanine)
Selectman Bill Moonan and chair of the ad hoc museum committee expressed concern that if there is no forward movement, the project may stall. Moonan asked that the Selectmen place an article calling for a feasibility study on the warrant for the November 2 Special Town Meeting, possibly using $50,000 in Community Preservation Funds (CPC).
Selectman Mike Rosenberg noted that for a variety of reasons there are fewer CPC funds available this year. Town Manager Richard Reed said he would check with Town Counsel about whether such a use would be proper under the Community Preservation Act.
Selectman Rosenberg asked if the Historical Society would be in a position to help with the cost of the study. Frank Gicca said the Society has taken no position, but expects to be fully engaged with the construction and operation of the museum. “Ultimately the success of the project in running a successful museum lies with the Society,” which plans to provide volunteer staffing.
Selectman Margot Fleischman called for more time to consider the options. She said, “I personally would love to see the timeline for this. I don’t understand the urgency. I feel as though I respect the point we have come to, but on the other hand, I think we can take a moment to decide what to do and not rush into it. We want the most responsible use of funds.”
It was agreed that the museum would appear on the agenda for the next Selectmen’s meeting, September 21. Moonan asked that in the meantime each Selectman consider the alternative sites.
For more information about the work of the Ad Hoc Museum Study committee, see https://www.thebedfordcitizen.org/2015/08/21/report-from-the-bedford-ad-hoc-historical-museum-study-committee/