Howard Lake Herald, December 7, 1998

Architect selected for village hall renvoation

By Irene Bender
Humphrey Museum Director

The Humphrey Board of Trustees announced the selection of Barbour/LaDouceur as architects for the schematic phase of the renovation/restoration of the Waverly Village Hall which will serve as the Humphrey Museum and Learning Center.

The firm has had considerable experience in restoration, such as the Earle Brown Heritage Center, the International Wolf Center, and the Como Park Conservatory Restoration. They have also designed the Richard I. Bong Fighter Pilot Museum, the Edna G. Tugboat Museum, and are currently working on The Battle Point Historic Site Cultural Education Center.

In addition to the restoration of the building to serve as a museum, the selection committee was most impressed with their vision "to tell the story."

We are aware of the community's interest in our project. We are grateful to the city of Waverly which will lease the building to the museum. The adaptive use of the village hall will again make it a public building. Our planning, in these two short years, has addressed the many needs and concerns.

First of all, the building needs to meet the American Disabilities Act (ADA). An elevator access, without changing the historic exterior, is a challenge. Secondly, the bathrooms will need to be near the entrance. Finally the building will have to meet the necessary museum environment. This includes "people comfort." The exhibits and educational outreach will determine the success of the museum and learning center.

We have selected four themes to open the museum. They are: 1) Hubert H. Humphrey - The Humanitarian at Home in Waverly and the World, 2) The Food for Peace Program - Humanitarian Needs and Development of New Markets, 3) Civil Rights - Fifty Years of Human Rights, and 4) Vietnam - A Nation Divided.

Professionals exhibits are costly. The final piece is the operating expense needed for a professional museum. Insurance, utilities, and staff need to be identified. Museums are not self-supporting. An endowment needs to be in place to support those expenses. We want to make the museum "a place for everyone from everywhere."

We are grateful to the state of Minnesota for the appropriation for this project. The Minnesota Legislature felt the importance of supporting our request. That appropriation will not be requested until we know we can have the exhibits, programming, and operating in place. We now need to begin our fund campaign development.

Our plan is to have a state, national, and local campaign. Yes, a million dollars from the Legislature is a lot of money. The restoration, exhibits, and operating expenses of this museum, and any museum of this caliber will need additional support.

The museum and learning center will keep an important Waverly landmark from deteriorating, will become a gateway to the city, instill community pride, and become a catalyst for economic development. These are all benefits of the project.

The main purpose of the project is to provide a museum and educational facility for a local, state, and national audience that centers on Hubert H. Humphrey's life and the effect he had in shaping the conscience, culture, and history of the nation. Waverly was the place the senator and vice-president called the "peace of my world." He came from rural roots and never forgot those ties as he became a public servant who cared about the concerns of the ordinary person.

Plans and designs will be unveiled at the "Community Concept" meeting on Saturday, Jan. 23, beginning at 9 a.m. in the morning. Charlie Maguire, musician and composer, who has written over 800 songs will sing and talk about using music to tell a story. He was a regular on "A Prairie Home Companion" and is the official "State Park Troubadour" for Minnesota State Parks.

Maguire presently serves as "The Singing Ranger" composing songs about the Mississippi National River. He is a consultant for the new Science Museum. The public is invited to attend his presentation. In addition to enjoying his songs, he will show how the history we are interpreting can be done through the arts.

We invite the community to be a part of "the concept." More will follow in the coming weeks. If you have any questions, or are willing to volunteer to serve on a committee, call board president Catherine (Birdie) Jackson or the museum office at 612-658-4505.

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