HANFORD — The Hanford Carnegie Museum is getting some work done in hopes of breathing new life into the historical building.
“We need to bring more people in and one way to do that is to get the museum looking perfect again,” Patricia Dickerson, Hanford Carnegie Museum general manager, said. “That’s the only way we’ll keep this place alive.”
The Carnegie will be closed for the next couple weeks as it gets all new carpeting. The roof will also be restored before the museum hosts a grand reopening on March 10.
The building, located at 109 E. Eighth St., opened in 1905 as Hanford’s first library and remained as such until 1968, when the city and county libraries were combined and moved to the current Kings County Library.
After the building was empty, the Hanford City Council considered demolishing it. However, petitions were presented to the city council to keep the building as a historical museum. It reopened in 1975 to offer exhibits, tours and shows.
For the past month, Dickerson, board members and other volunteers have been helping move items and even tore all the carpet out of almost every room themselves, which she said was a big help and money saver.
The Carnegie runs strictly on donations with some help from membership and rental fees, so it has taken time to save enough money for the repairs. Dickerson said the board has wanted to restore the roof for about four years and the carpets haven’t been replaced in about 12 years.
“With everything going on with all the other historical buildings, we’ve got to save one of them,” Dickerson said in reference to the city tearing down the old fire station recently.
Dickerson said she and the museum’s board members have been cleaning the basement out so that more items could be stored there to make room for displays in the first and second floors.
“We didn’t realize how much stuff was here until we started this,” Dickerson said. “It’s been quite the adventure.”
One of the many things Dickerson is looking forward to is a new display room filled with new items people may not have seen before. A room upstairs that was previously used a storage room is now going to be converted into an additional display room.
“I can’t wait,” Dickerson said while giving a tour of the museum. “We never noticed how big these rooms were until we did this.”
Also, a small area to the right near the top of the stairs will be turned into a research room, Dickerson said.
She said at least one person every week goes into the museum to look at old books and do historical research. With the new research room, all the books can be in one place and it will be easier for patrons to find what they’re looking for.
Along with getting the perimeter fence repaired last summer, Dickerson said the gift shop has also been redone and will now sell art from local artists that will be exclusive to the museum. Slowly, but surely, she said improvements are consistently being made.
Dickerson said the museum has been lucky so far with donations and its memberships, but she would like to see more people visiting and experiencing this little piece of Hanford.
“We’ve got so much stuff people should see,” Dickerson said.
She said she would love for everyone to go to the grand reopening of the Carnegie on March 10 and see all the new things the museum has done.