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Washington County museum launches $2.5M renovation project

May 26, 2010|By DAN DEARTH
  • Museum officials, politicians, and friends of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts take part in ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday in the museum's courtyard. The courtyard will be enclosed.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer,

HAGERSTOWN -- A $2.5 million project to upgrade the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts got under way Wednesday during a groundbreaking ceremony that was attended by approximately 60 people.

Museum Director Rebecca Massie Lane said the project will include building a glass enclosure over the museum's courtyard. When the work is finished in about eight months, the climate-controlled addition will allow the museum to hold events in the courtyard throughout the year.

"This space will be flexible and dynamic," she said. "It will provide a new exhibition venue, and it will give us a pleasant indoor-outdoor space for art activities like the Autumn Arts Festival, the Yule Tree Lighting and the recent Festival of Japanese Culture."

Lane said $1.9 million has been raised to pay for the project.

Of that money, about $1.1 million has been secured through private donations. Washington County is loaning the museum $300,000, and the state contributed a $500,000 grant.

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She said museum officials are counting on federal money and more donations from benefactors to cover the rest of the $600,000 cost.

Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, and Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, said after the ceremony that government funding for these types of projects often encourages private donors to step forward.

"It's Washington County taxpayer money that we bring back here," Munson said.

Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., R-Washington/Allegany, also attended the event.

Todd Grove, an architect with Murphy and Dittenhafer of York, Pa., said about 30 designs were considered to enclose the courtyard. In the end, however, his firm decided to choose one of the simplest.

"This could be one of the great spaces in the area," he said. "We're very excited about what will be here ... I'm very much looking forward to it."

Grove said Murphy and Dittenhafer also designed the libraries in Boonsboro and Smithsburg.

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