Seymour Museum Center capital campaign progresses


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Seymour Museum Center’s capital campaign is chugging along.

Board President Lenny Hauersperger said more than $15,000 has been raised since the kickoff in June, and another $20,000 is needed to complete the flooring and heating, ventilation and air conditioning installations.

“Thanks to those who have given already to our capital campaign,” he said. “We believe there are others in this generous community that will also like to give so that we can display Seymour’s past and present. Our goal is to be open the Saturday of Oktoberfest so that we can show the public our progress and start displaying artifacts that are significant to Seymour’s rich history.”

As a bonus, Hauersperger learned Wednesday that the museum was approved for $2,500 from Indiana Humanities that can be used for operating expenses.

As the capital campaign continues, donations are being accepted to complete Phase 1 of the restoration project of the historic building on the corner of Third and Chestnut streets.

That phase includes updating electrical, plumbing and heating and air and tearing out drop ceilings and carpeting. The ceiling work is completed, and the wall work is well on its way.

“We had to take the drop ceilings out, tear everything out and start over basically,” Hauersperger said. “We had to do the ceilings first, then the walls, which is how you really should do a big remodel like this that’s over 10,000 square feet, then the floors. We’re really down to the floors for the most part.”

He is happy with how the walls look so far, and the large arched windows that were replaced bring natural light into the back side of the building, which board members refer to as the showroom.

There are three windows that still need sponsored. The cost is $1,600, and each donation is recognized with a dedication plaque to identify the donors.

Also, the new handicap-accessible restroom installation recently was completed at the museum. Half of the $20,000 project came from the Seymour Redevelopment Commission, and the other half came from the museum.

“It looks fantastic,” Hauersperger said.

Now, all that remains for the first phase is finishing the work on the floors and walls and installing heating and air. The latter equipment has been ordered, so Hauersperger is just waiting for it to arrive. The redevelopment commission also helped fund that project.

“We welcome volunteers to help not only financially but with volunteer labor,” he said. “If we can find another carpenter or two, that would be helpful also.”

Once the showroom work is done, it will include displays and artifacts to check out during Oktoberfest on the first weekend of October.

“We have the old Bevers ice cream machines and deli tables and chairs, so our goal is to serve ice cream and occasionally popcorn during the times we’re open,” Hauersperger said.

“We also have two Ahlbrand carriages on display with a horse pulling one. Many Ahlbrand carriages were made in Seymour in the late 1800s and into the early 1900s,” he said. “We’d like to start recognizing other Seymour businesses that have been influential in Seymour’s rich history and growth.”

The showroom also will be a place to rent for events, which would bring in some revenue for the museum.

“So we’re bringing in revenue and people are coming in the door and they are seeing our progress,” he said.

Phase 2 will involve the area behind the showroom on the first floor and the exhibit room on the second floor; Phase 3 will include exterior work, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant needs and drainage; Phase 4 will focus on the east side office, meeting, library and storage areas; and Phase 5 will include the basement gallery space.

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