Museum shares plans for 2nd floor exhibit space

Photo by Deb Gau Lyon County Museum Director Jennifer Andries spoke to supporters of the Lyon County Historical Society on Wednesday afternoon about plans for the second story of the museum.

MARSHALL — It was always the plan for the second floor of the Lyon County Museum to have exhibit space, Jennifer Andries said. But this year the plans will start getting a lot more specific, in preparation for renovation work at the museum.

“This year, we’re really going to see some things happening,” Andries said Wednesday. The ultimate goal, she said, will be to have the second-floor exhibit space finished in time for the county’s 150th anniversary in 2020.

Andries, the Lyon County Museum director, led discussion of future plans for the museum during an information session with members of the Lyon County Historical Society. Invites went out to society members and representatives from city and county government, to hear about plans for the second floor exhibit space and the need for a capital campaign to help make the renovations possible.

In the five years since the museum moved into the former Marshall-Lyon County Library building in Marshall, there’s been a lot of focus on constructing exhibits on the main and lower floors. With those exhibits complete, Andries said, the focus is moving toward the second floor.

“We had always planned for this to be an exhibit gallery,” Andries said of the museum’s second floor, which used to hold offices and the MLCL children’s department. However, the space was first used as storage, and then for traveling museum exhibits.

The second floor of the museum has about 1,300 square feet of space that can be used for exhibits, Andries said. But right now, the space has some features that aren’t very functional for the museum, she said. Those include a dividing wall and a narrow hallway running most of the length of the floor. This month, the Lyon County commissioners granted the museum permission to remove the wall.

There’s a lot more planning that needs to go into renovating the second floor, however. Andries said that both research and an interpretive plan have been completed on how the museum will use the space. The next step will be to hire a museum planning firm to help create the designs and layout for the exhibits. The museum has received grant funding to help pay for the planning process.

“We’re getting more excited because we have that exhibit plan grant,” she said.

By this winter, Andries said, the museum should have a documented plan that can be turned into physical displays. She said the goal for the second floor will be to have exhibits dealing with more recent Lyon County history — going from about the World War II era forward.

Part of the reason for going over the plan for the museum’s second floor was the need to start a capital campaign for the project, Andries said.

“We’re going to use grants as much as we can,” she said, but the renovations will also need local funding. To go along with a capital campaign, the Historical Society recently adopted a strategic plan to help get the word out about the museum’s goals and mission.