Archives move to old City Hall

Venue to reopen by Feb. 1 or sooner
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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A mandatory move for the Lincoln Area Archives Museum will mean more access to historical documents and artifacts for patrons. Last Thursday, the nonprofit organization temporarily moved out of the Civic Center on the corner of 5th and E streets to the city’s former City Hall and police station on Beermann Plaza at 540 Fifth St. The Archives Museum moved due to the grant-funded renovation of the Civic Center, according to previous News Messenger reports. The city of Lincoln received two Federal Housing and Urban Development grants, said public-services director Mark Miller in November. One grant is for $120,000 and the other is for $840,000. The first grant was used for asbestos assessment and renovation design, according to Miller, and the second, for $840,000, must be used for construction by June 30. Volunteers and volunteer executive director Shirley Russell spent the better part of last Thursday and Friday moving display cases, artifacts, photos and city and Gladding, McBean record books into the old City Hall. “I think it’s fantastic because people will become aware that there is a museum and archives,” Russell said. “It means we need more volunteers because we are pushing to be open at least five days a week.” Anyone interested in volunteering for the organization should call 645-3800. Russell said the museum could reopen as early as Jan. 15 and as late as Feb. 1, since displays must be set up and inventory organized. The Archives Museum’s space decreased from 5,000 square feet at the Civic Center to 3,200 square feet at the old City Hall, according to Russell. Although the organization now has a smaller space, patrons will have a larger area to browse what the Archives Museum has to offer, Russell said. That’s because visitors only had access to the museum’s first floor and not the second, according to Russell. “All of the city records, people didn’t know we had those because they were upstairs,” Russell said. “The California Library we had in boxes, which are books on California. We have six to 10 boxes full and they can see those now.” Visitors entering the Archives Museum off of Beermann Plaza will see a historic buggy on one side of the foyer and a feed scale from Jansen Feed on the other side. “Wes Freeman restored the scale 15 years ago and we have been waiting for a museum (to display the feed scale),” said volunteer Kathy Freeman. She is married to Wes Freeman, who founded the Lincoln Area Archives Museum with Don and Jerry Logan. In the lobby, visitors will have access to city records, assessment rolls and the California Library. “I am hoping to have more programs for third- and fourth-graders to access and to help fourth-graders with their California History projects,” Russell said. The Archives Museum’s new location “brings Lincoln together,” according to Freeman. “I think it’s exciting for us, the volunteers and the city of Lincoln,” Freeman said. “We will be able to have more research area available.” Volunteer Wayne Early said the move to the old City Hall is “nothing but good for the city.” “If you go to any small town, the main thing is a museum with the history of a small town,” Early said. “This is a great place and where the city needs to have it.” Early and fellow volunteers “were so confined over there (at the Civic Center),” and had “so much stuff we wanted to do” but couldn’t because of the limited space. “To us, it’s going to make our job easier because we have the space,” Early said.