KETCHIKAN, Alaska — A Ketchikan museum is closing its doors to make way for a million-dollar renovation on the main floor of the building.

Acting Tongass Historical Museum Director Anita Maxwell told the Ketchikan Daily News (http://bit.ly/2cAMjHY) that demolition work will get underway in October. The museum will be closed starting Tuesday to allow employees time to move the artifacts into storage before construction crews get started.

“Essentially, we need to take the time to box up all of the artifacts that are currently on display,” Maxwell said. ” … As far as all the artifacts in the main gallery — we’ve got quite a few — and basically they need to all be boxed up carefully, as the artifacts will need long-term protection.”

The City Council had approved a bid for the project from Dawson Construction LLC last month. Funding for the $1.3 million renovation will come from the capital account and the city’s public work sales tax fund.

The museum plans to partially reopen in May with small, temporary exhibitions and new restrooms.

“It’s still sort of to be determined how much of that temporary exhibit space we will completely have ready,” Maxwell said.

The full gallery expansion project is expected to be complete in 2018, and the museum’s curator of exhibits, Steven Villano, is working on plans for how the new space will be utilized, Maxwell said.

“He’s building some really exciting plans with a lot of locally sourced materials, and we’re making a huge priority of using local craftsmen as far as building the permanent exhibit,” Maxwell said. “We’re kind of balancing the two needs of having a temporary exhibit when we open next summer and exploring different opportunities, whether that’s something that we source locally or having traveling exhibits.”

The museum’s temporary closure will not affect the Ketchikan-owned Totem Heritage Center.


Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.ketchikandailynews.com