By Carol Britton Meyer firstname.lastname@example.org
September 10. 2015 8:59AM
Heritage Museum in Hingham groundbreaking draws a crowd
The big day finally arrived – the groundbreaking for the long-anticipated Heritage Museum & Visitor Center in the heart of downtown Hingham.
Seven shiny silver shovels were lined up against the side of Old Derby, where the Hingham Historical Society is based, as a symbol of the start of the construction.
“Exciting” was the most-often-used word to describe how project supporters feel now that the museum is about to actually take shape.
“It’s like we’ve been chasing the horizon and now it’s suddenly upon us,” said HHS Executive Director Suzanne Buchanan.
HHS President Michael Studley summed it all up: “This day has finally arrived after years of hoping, praying, planning, and raising money,” he said. “The first shovel will go into the ground next week.”
Old Derby Committee Project Director Mark Cullings is pleased that “we’re finally actually at the breaking-ground stage of the project, which has been in the planning stages since 2008. It has absolutely been worth all the effort. It’s been an interesting journey,” he said.
HHS board members and other supporters gathered on the back lawn to enjoy hors d'oeuvres, wine, lemonade, and iced tea before Studley gathered the crowd together to “thank everyone who helped make this happen.”
They included the selectmen, Police Chief Glenn Olsson and Deputy Fire Chief Steven Murphy, Buchanan, architect Sally Weston, Cullings, “who really pushed this project along and made it possible,” generous supporters, Talbots for providing a temporary home for the Society during construction, and others.
Studley also acknowledged representatives from the construction company, Acella Construction, who handed out hard hats for various board members and other supporters to don to have their photos taken holding a shovel in various poses.
There were lots of laughs as the photos were taken and an all-round sense of joy that the actual construction is about to begin.
Rep. Garrett Bradley, D-Hingham, presented Studley with a citation from the house of representatives on behalf of the Society in recognition of the groundbreaking. The expected opening date is fall 2016.
In the meantime, the society will operate from donated space in the Talbots headquarters off Beal Street.
The Old Ordinary gift shop will be closed during this time, but items may be purchased online at hinghamhistorical.org through the “gift shop” link. Shop manager Susan Achille quipped, “I will deliver [items from the shop that are purchased online] locally!” Call (781) 749-0706 for further information. The Old Ordinary Museum on Lincoln Street will remain the same as it is now.
The 4,000-square-foot, three-level addition on the back of the existing building was designed by Sally Weston Associates of Hingham. The completed project will result in not only improved exhibition space, but also an expanded gift shop and a welcome center for the thousands of residents and visitors who visit Old Derby each year. There will also be more room to host family and school events and to expand its educational programming for the entire community.
Funds for the $3 million project have been and continue to be raised through $1.1 million in Community Preservation Act funding unanimously approved at the 2013 Town Meeting, grants, private donations from individuals, businesses, and foundations, and fundraising efforts that include the Sept. 26 Barn Ball and raffle for a luxury Nantucket Lightship vacation.
For information about the Barn Ball fundraiser visit hinghambarnball.com. To donate to the Heritage Museum & Visitor Center go to hinghamhistorical.org and click on “Donate.”
You can follow Reporter Carol Britton Meyer on Twitter @ CMeyerJournal.
Photos below courtesy of George Loring
Hingham Historical Society President Michael Studley and Rep. Bradley
Suzanne Buchanan, Executive Director Hingham Historical Society, Representative Garrett Bradley, Selectman Paul Gannon, Police Chief Glenn Olsson, Selectman Mary Power, Selectman Paul Healey and Deputy Fire Chief Steven Murphy