Originally published in Castine Patriot, December 5, 2013
Wilson Museum completes first phase of master plan
The “great room” of the Wilson Museum-owned house at 112 Perkins Street, located at left side of the building, has been removed and the rest of the house demolished. The room will be joined to the barn on the same property.
by Anne Berleant
The Wilson Museum has kept busy the last 18 months moving, tearing down and renovating its properties on Perkins Street, all with an eye on a master plan developed in 2012.
The plan calls for a new education hub at 112 Perkins Street, which is directly across from the museum; a new administration building to replace the Doudiet House, located next door to 112 Perkins Street and the current administrative center; and, finally, a new wing added to the museum building to expand its collection exhibit area. The museum plans to eventually sell the Doudiet House.
The first step began in fall of 2012, when the barn was raised, moved, and given a new foundation. Buildings and Grounds Manager Sherm Hutchins added brick, steps and a deck.
Less than a year later, a foundation was poured behind the barn in preparation of the recent move of the great room from the house at 112 Perkins Street, which has been demolished. The barn will be extended about a foot to connect with the room, said Director Patty Hutchins, which will hold two bathrooms, a kitchenette and a chair storage room. E.L. Shea Builders of Ellsworth is in charge of connecting to the two buildings, said Hutchins.
The great room was added to the 112 Perkins Street house 20 years ago. “It was in good shape,” Hutchins said.
The latest move is the blacksmith building, from its position adjacent to the museum across the street to 112 Perkins Street, where it will join an outbuilding with exhibit space already moved from across the street and on its new foundation.
Moving the two smaller buildings from the shore property beside the museum building has “really opened that property up,” said Hutchins.
That property will be the home for a sculpture to be created next summer at the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium.
“The sculpture will be able to be seen from land and sea,” said Hutchins.
First, the town is going to put in an overboard discharge system, covered by a slab. The sculpture will rest on a foundation over the slab.
The Sculpture Committee “will help with how that area is going to look,” she continued. A foundation won’t be constructed “until next spring [when we] know what the sculpture is.”
The new cluster of buildings at 112 Perkins Street will make up the educational center of the campus.
“I think it’s more cohesive…because it’s directly across from the museum,” said Hutchins.
The barn will continue to hold seasonal demonstrations of woodturning, spinning, painting, and chair weaving. In the winter, it will be used for educational programming, meetings, and community events.
A capital campaign will “eventually” begin, Hutchins said, to raise money for adding a free standing archival storage building behind the barn.
The master plan came with an estimated total cost of $3.9 million; however, the plan called this estimate conceptual and for guidance only.
The near-completion of the educational center “is a great first step,” Hutchins said.
“We’re hoping that this will be all put together by May 27, when we open.”