Most everyone knows by now that we have passed final inspection on the construction phases of the Museum expansion. I also think most everyone knows that this does not mean we are done. There is a lot remaining to be done before the museum is fully able to use its space as envisioned. So, I will keep writing these blogs just to keep you informed of how we are doing on the remaining museum expansion work.

Gallery:

Before we built and occupied the new gallery there was a lot of concern and many discussions about the anticipates acoustical qualities of the room. We decided to try out the room to see how it worked before carpeting the walls and floors. Fran Rogers scheduled an Acoustical Jam Session in the gallery. More than sixty people attended, which was great, because chairs and people impact the acoustics of a venue. The results were great too – the musicians thought the room behaved well, the acoustics were good just as the room was (concrete floors, bare walls, and all), and everyone had a good time

We may do other Jam Sessions in the future: Below are the names of the Acoustic Jam Session musicians to whom the museum is very thankful:

– R. David Pogge, guitars (3) and sang
– Women’s vocal trio: Kathy Cummings, Carol Saki and Kristin Hall
– Flute Trio: Debra Veit, Lisa Austin, and Heidi Costanzo
– David Hodgson, Bariton and Melanie Litton, piano
– Bud Sewell, guitar and sang
– Ruthie Hill, piano
– Patrick Audinet, French Horn
– Erica MacArthur, violin, viola
– Fran Rogers, cello (who also made the arrangements for this event)

Carroll Electric installed tracks in the new gallery for lighting the exhibits, lectures, performances and so on. We are waiting on a few parts before we can connect these to power.

Andrea Pelch has two LED state-of-the-art focusable spotlights to test ($131 each) before we purchase them in quantity. We may need upwards of 50 (about $7,000 worth) of these. Then we just have to learn how to program the lights for the various uses the gallery will host.

Andrea has also ordered 50 new chairs for the gallery. Deciding what chairs to buy ended up being a project in itself. We (Andrea) purchased sample “cushy” chairs and had bunches of people try them out. They (the chairs) all had faults, including that most short people (no fault of their own) found them to be uncomfortable. Andrea located chairs like the ones the museum now uses in the Sylvia Winslow gallery and ordered 25 with arms and 25 without. They (the chairs) should arrive soon.

We are waiting for Windows Walls and Floors to bring samples of commercial quality floor coverings (not carpet) for the new gallery floor.

The Davis Dry Wall crew came back to install an art hanging track around the room. Instead of using nails, Velcro, double sided tape, and we can now suspend the art from this rail. It was a pleasure to watch as these guys made this job look easy.

We are waiting for Michael J.’s Painting to give us a quote for staining the concrete floor in the temporary exhibit area between the new gallery and the museum entrance area.

Storage:

Staff and volunteers are working out plans to utilize all the new storage at the museum. Besides the new Docent Storage Room, the new Curator’s storage area, and the new Storage/Workshop room, a “new” 40 foot shipping container now sits on the museum property. All this new storage will save the museum over $3,500 a year that it now pays for off site storage. It will also allow the museum to house many things stored for the museum in private homes. The staff and volunteers are developing a storage plan to allocate all the new space. (A moving party will be set up to clear out off site rented storage areas – volunteers needed).

The docents have decided upon a movable storage system for their new room. That system will be delivered and installed around the 13th of April.

Workshop/Storage Room:

Loscar Cabinets installed cabinets and counter tops shortly after we passed final inspection. Stop by and take a look at them if you haven’t already. They are very nice.
After the cabinets were in Cardinal Plumbing connected the faucets and drains to the three sinks in the room. Things are ready there for the upcoming Wildflower Show.

Energy:

The museum will spend between $15,000 and $20,000 over the next 12 months on electricity. We can only expect those costs to increase in future years. We are starting to firm up plans to reduce the museum’s electric bill. This isn’t as straightforward or simple as you might think because of the way commercial buildings are billed for electricity.

The first bill the museum received under the new “Time of Use (TOU)” SCE billing system was for $730 for the month of February – one of our lowest electricity usage months of the year. The bill is broken into six or seven categories of charges. It costs the museum $200 a month just to be a customer. Other charges are based upon usage. Then there are charges based upon the maximum peak demand the museum has during any 15-minute period during the month. This peak usage charge for February was $211. In the summer peak months these peak demand charges will probably exceed $1,000.

A group of us are working to produce a plan for controlling these high electricity costs. The plan will include installing solar voltaic panels, managing usage, managing our peak demands, and converting 100% of the museum lighting to LED lighting. I hope we will end up with a strong energy management plan, one that will save the museum initially $5,000 to $10,000 per year in operating costs.

Things are moving right along.

Dan Burnett

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