Marine mu­seum closed for win­ter ren­o­va­tion work

Project aim is to re­vi­tal­ize, en­hance Solomons fa­cil­ity

The Enterprise - - News - By TA­MARA WARD [email protected]­news.com Twit­ter: @CalRecTAMARA

The Calvert Marine Mu­seum in Solomons has closed tem­po­rar­ily to com­plete ren­o­va­tions on the mez­za­nine level of its ex­hi­bi­tion hall with the goal of re­vi­tal­iz­ing the mu­seum and ex­pand­ing ed­u­ca­tional spa­ces.

The clo­sure be­gan yes­ter­day, Jan. 1. While the project is not ex­pected to be com­pleted un­til May, it is an­tic­i­pated the mu­seum will re­open in March to vis­i­tors.

“I am very ex­cited about fi­nally get­ting proper spa­ces for our ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment. This is the largest depart­ment at the mu­seum, and the one that pro­duces most of the pro­gram­ming. With this ren­o­va­tion, they will have space spe­cially de­signed for pro­gram­ming, as well as ad­e­quate of­fice and stor­age space,” Calvert Marine Mu­seum Di­rec­tor Sher­rod Stur­rock said in a re­lease, adding that the ef­fort will help the mu­seum “con­tinue to of­fer ex­cep­tional pro­gram­ming” to vis­i­tors.

The con­struc­tion project is the se­cond part of a two-phase plan that in­cluded the ren­o­va­tion of the Harms Gallery and lobby in 2014.

Those ear­lier ef­forts in 2014 to ren­o­vate the floor for pre­vi­ously ap­proved class­room, ed­u­ca­tion and of­fice space projects were put on hold due to lack of funds.

How­ever, the de­mand for mu­seum pro­grams in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly and the de­ci­sion was made to move for­ward with the project. Mu­seum Deputy Di­rec­tor Jef­frey Mur­ray said mu­seum at­ten­dance for 2017 was 84,500.

Slated im­prove­ments for the se­cond phase this win­ter in- clude the cre­ation of two large class­rooms for ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram­ming, a new uni­sex bath­room, im­proved hand­i­cap ac­cess to the ex­hibit area and ex­panded work space for ed­u­ca­tion staff, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

Fund­ing al­lo­cated for the project in Calvert County’s cap­i­tal im­prove­ment plan for fis­cal 2020 and 2022 to­tals $710,000. In 2017, the mu­seum re­quested to col­lapse the fund­ing sched­ule to place ev­ery­thing into fis­cal 2019.

Colimore Ar­chi­tec­tural Firm of Bal­ti­more was se­lected to do the ar­chi­tec­tural and en­gi­neer­ing de­sign and W.M. Davis of Leonard­town was se­lected as the gen­eral con­trac­tor.

The mu­seum, es­tab­lished in 1970 as the Mar­itime Mu­seum, was ren­o­vated and moved to Old Solomons School in 1975. The Calvert County His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety turned own­er­ship over to Calvert County gov­ern­ment a short while af­ter. In 1989, the mu­seum opened its cur­rent ex­hi­bi­tion build­ing.

In 2008, the Calvert County com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved the se­cond mas­ter plan for the mu­seum. In 2017, the com­mis­sion­ers awarded a nearly $675,000 con­tract for the ren­o­va­tion of the roof­ing sys­tem for the mu­seum’s ex­hi­bi­tion build­ing. The roof­ing project is com­plete, ac­cord­ing to Mur­ray.

The mu­seum will cel­e­brate its 50th an­niver­sary in 2020. Ear­lier this year, the mu­seum re­ceived the des­ig­na­tion as Mary­land’s Pa­le­on­tol­ogy Re­search and Col­lec­tions Cen­ter by the Mary­land Gen­eral As­sem­bly.

Dur­ing the three-month clo­sure, the ma­jor­ity of pro­gram­ming will be sus­pended and the mu­seum store will be closed. How­ever, the Patux­ent Small Craft Guild will con­tinue to op­er­ate, and CHESPAX field trips, an en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram for Calvert pub­lic schools, will con­tinue to take place off­site in the in­terim.

Mur­ray said “the ot­ters, and all of our other an­i­mals, will be well cared for dur­ing the ren­o­va­tion pe­riod. The area of the build­ing where ren­o­va­tion work is be­ing com­pleted is rel­a­tively far away from the ot­ters, and they will con­tinue to stay in their cur­rent liv­ing en­vi­rons and be cared for daily by a trained and qual­i­fied aquar­ist.”

An­i­mals which re­side near the front door or lobby area of the build­ing will be re­lo­cated into other liv­ing quar­ters in es­tu­ar­ine bi­ol­ogy depart­ment near the rear of the build­ing, where they will also re­ceive daily care and feed­ing from one of three aquar­ists.

The mu­seum en­cour­ages mem­bers and non­mem­bers alike to stay con­nected on­line through so­cial me­dia or at the mu­seum’s web­site at calvert­marine­mu­seum.com.

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