Representatives of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and Pennsylvania Lumber Museum Associates (PALMA) today held a groundbreaking ceremony for renovations to the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum Visitor Center.
About 7,000 square feet will be added to the building, nearly doubling its size. The new space will be updated to make it handicapped accessible and provide better conditions for the museum collections.
The museum, located in Galeton, Potter County, interprets the colorful heritage of the state's prosperous lumber era when white pine and hemlock were the wealth of the nation.
PHMC Executive Director James M. Vaughan and PALMA President Robert Miller were joined by elected officials including Senator Joseph Scarnati , Potter County Commissioners Doug Morely and Susan Kefover and other tourism, business and community leaders to kick-off renovations to the existing 8,700 square foot visitor center.
"The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum is a tremendous asset to Potter County and Pennsylvania's north central region," Scarnati said. "Timber is one of our state's greatest natural resources and over the past 40 years the museum has provided visitors with the opportunity to understand this important industry. I am confident that the visitor's center expansion will allow the facility to be a place for future generations to experience, enjoy and learn from."
The additional space will have a new handicapped accessible entrance, expanded exhibit galleries and a state-of-the-art collections storage area. The renovated visitor center will house galleries and exhibits, museum offices, meeting space for community groups, visitor amenities, a library and a gift shop.
The new addition, like the original visitor center constructed in 1972, will feature rough-sawn board and batten hemlock siding, which was used at many lumber camps, and stone cladding. The new entrance will be lowered to the parking lot level and include an elevator to the gallery on the main floor above.
The project also includes a new fire suppression system and a new roof. A new heating, ventilation, air conditioning and humidification system will be a major component of the project. This will provide stable temperatures and relative humidity levels that are critical to maintain museum collections.
The site is owned and operated by PHMC, and renovations will be overseen by the Pennsylvania Department of General Services. The visitor center renovation and expansion was designed by Larson Design Group of Williamsport. Arris Engineering of Wilkes-Barre designed the fire protection infrastructure.
The prime contractors responsible for construction are Caldwell, Heckles & Egan Inc., Lancaster (general contractor); Silvertip Inc., Lewisburg (HVAC); W.C. Eshenaur & Son Inc., Harrisburg (plumbing); and A&MP Electric, Guys Mills (electrical).
The renovation budget is $5.4 million and should take about 14 months to complete. It will not affect the museum's operating schedule including the popular annual Bark Peelers' Convention held this year on July 6-7.
The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum is one of 25 historic sites and museums along the Pennsylvania Trails of History® administered by PHMC. It is operated in partnership with the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum Associates. The museum is located on 160 wooded acres in Potter County.