August 27, 2007

Campaign for DAHS expansion to kick off during Red Rooster Days

DAHS hopes to raise $125,000 and start new addition in the spring

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

The Dassel Area Historical Society will be kicking off its capital fundraising campaign during Red Rooster Days.

The kick-off will include presence in Saturday’s parade, an informational booth, and a musicians’ jamboree with acoustic strings beginning at 2 p.m. outside the Ergot building.

There are several other events taking place all weekend long that are sponsored by the DAHS, as well.

With the capital fund campaign, titled “Building on the Vision,” the DAHS is hoping to raise $125,000 from memberships, area residents, and businesses for the estimated 3,116-square-foot expansion.

The anticipated cost for the expansion is $375,000, but $250,000 has already come from the City of Dassel and the townships of Dassel, Collinwood, and Kingston as well as Meeker County, according to Carolyn Holje, co-chair of the capital campaign.

The Universal Laboratories building was completed in six phases over a 13-year period, and a seventh and final phase is needed to bring bathrooms up to code, according to Holje.

Along with this, the DAHS has found additional needs, including storage, that would make it more usable.

The office, for example, is currently not handicapped accessible. The new addition would allow for the office to be on the main level with no stairs.

Other areas included in the proposed expansion is a library and research area, storage, meeting area, galley kitchen, and welcoming entry area.

Currently, the museum has rooms that are being used for storage which otherwise could be used for exhibits. With the new addition, five rooms could be opened up for additional exhibits, Lindquist said.

The museum’s archival rooms are running out of space, as well.

“The confining space dictates what artifacts we can accept,” said DAHS Director, Julie Lindquist.

“We need to be thinking ahead 10 to 15 years,” she said.

The Universal Lab building is a city-owned building so throughout the year it is used by governing bodies and local businesses.

“This is used more than as a museum, but as a community center,” Lindquist said.

The current meeting area on level three is not an ideal meeting space with the office just down the steps.

“It’s a noise factor,” Lindquist said.

The limited space also makes it difficult to hold more than one meeting in the building at the same time.

More and more businesses have been showing interest in holding meetings and conferences in the building.

The new addition would also allow the existing building to be used as an artifact in itself, Lindquist said.

Rooms currently being used for storage or other reasons have equipment used in the Ergot process. Walls could easily be taken down to open up space and allow for viewing of such areas, according to Lindquist.

Make a donation

Mailings for donation requests have already been sent out to members and residents. Anyone else willing to make a contribution can mail it to PO Box D Dassel, MN 55325.

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