City officials ponder new home of Hatfield Historical Museum

Published: 04/27/2021 10:15:07

HATFIELD – Most communities in the region, regardless of size, have dedicated buildings to display and store their historical artifacts.

While the Hatfield Historical Society oversees the Hatfield Historical Museum on the upper floor of the City Library, members of the Hatfield Historical Commission are seeking to begin a process that could identify a separate building where the collection could be housed.

At a recent board meeting, commissioner and realtor Micki Sanderson suggested the city explore finding a suitable location, ideally downtown, to store and display artifacts. and organize various events.

“There was no site or community center for these events,” Sanderson said.

One possibility, Sanderson said, would be to buy an existing old house in or near the city center that could be turned into a museum.

Board chair Diana Szynal said every option should be on the table. “I like the idea,” she said.

The discussion comes after a meeting in December during which it was debated whether the museum would be able to move its collection to Memorial Town Hall after the building was fully renovated or should instead continue to use offsite storage space.

There was also talk of having a dedicated space at City Hall for exhibits.

Bob Osley, president of the Hatfield Historical Society, wrote in an email that the society is actively involved in efforts to store and display the collection safely, observing that for 50 years the society has managed the historical collections and historical and agricultural museums. .

“We are both exploring all options to better protect and share the items,” Osley said of the joint work the commission and the company are doing.

The society covers funding for curatorial staff, acquires grants to fund exhibits, artifact preservation, and research, and organizes volunteers to catalog, search, and enter items into a digital database, and produces multiple exhibits each year. to share Hatfield’s story with the public and schools.

If a property is sought, the Select Board would convene a task force focused on what space would be needed and whether the Community Preservation Act could help bring it to fruition.

Scott Merzbach can be contacted at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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Patrick F. Williams