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Everett museum finds a home

EVERETT — At last, Everett’s history artifacts may soon be unveiled for the public to see.
The Everett Museum of History last week bought the empty building at 2939 Colby Ave. downtown.
The deal was finalized Wednesday, Dec. 20 for $1.6 million. A $3 million bequeathment earlier this year gave the nonprofit the spending power it needed.
The museum has spent
10 years displaced from the public, with thousands of artifacts which few people have seen. It has upwards of 50,000 artifacts stored in spaces around the city.
Organizers are planning to open by 2019, but they have a lot of work to do still to get it ready.
A dedicated group of volunteers never ceased their pursuit to re-open the museum. On Wednesday, Dec. 20, they popped open some champagne to celebrate and walk around the new space.
“Finally,” nonprofit director Barbara George said with some relief.
The building is bought, but by no means finished. The group will need to renovate it, and “we’ll have to raise another $3.5 million” to make it an operating museum, in-
cluding to put in an elevator.
A key donor was Elizabeth Ruth Wallace, whose estate gave the $3 million.

Wallace’s identity as the anonymous donor became revealed in the fall. She gained her fortune from working in California real estate.
Much of the collection hasn’t been seen since the museum’s last site closed in 2007.
Among the collection’s largest pieces is a giant golden bust of native son Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson’s head. The museum also has former Gov. Roland Hartley’s desk and the massive wheel from the Black Prince steamship built in Everett in 1901.
Earlier this year, the nonprofit tried to buy the historic former Longfellow School from the Everett School District to house the museum, but the nonprofit ended up having to walk away.
The group went quiet after the Longfellow fell through until the Colby building purchase closed.
“This fell into our lap, it’s just a blessing,” George said.
Located across from the Marriott Courtyard hotel, the museum will be within walking distance to draws such as the Schack Art Center, the Imagine Children’s Museum. “We’re so visible, if you come in on Colby you have to see it,” George said.
Supporters say the area where the new museum would open could be seen as a cultural district, making it a perfect location.
While seeking a home, the museum catalogued its archives and helped arrange pop-up storefronts to display a sliver of the artifacts.
The museum’s planned future home at the corner of Colby Avenue and Wall Street a century ago were the buzzing offices of the Herald until a 1956 fire drove the newspaper out. It last housed a telecommunications business.
It has two floors with each story yielding 8,000 square feet of space, and there’s a garage door to bring in the collection’s largest pieces.
Its red exterior likely will be repainted in favor of bringing back a more historical color, George said.
There is still much to plan, and much to execute, before the museum could open.
The all-volunteer group’s tenacity shone through, George said.
“It’s a good testimony to the fact all of these people kept hanging on,” George said.

 

 

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