High maintenance costs lead to the closure of the Alamo Township Historical Museum

KALAMAZOO, MI – The Alamo Township Historical Museum has closed for good.

The Alamo Township Board of Trustees voted to close the museum due to high maintenance costs and low attendance. Artifacts from the museum, 8119 N. 6th St., have been auctioned online.

“Over time, it wasn’t becoming a big interest in the community or a big interest outside of the community,” Alamo Township Supervisor Gail Vanderweele said of the museum.

Before closing, the museum was open two days a week, instead of three days a week, and was staffed by community volunteers. Vanderweele said the building’s high ceilings contributed to high electricity costs that the township was no longer able to afford.

“Today’s generation really doesn’t care about that stuff,” Vanderweele said. “They don’t care how people should cultivate, so it’s become a thing of the past. My generation is still very interested in this, but the younger ones are not.

Creating the right temperature environment for artifacts was also a concern for the board. In the building, built in 1868, there was no way to control the climate to create the ideal environment.

The township posted a notice in its newsletter to residents asking them to call the township if they had donated any artifacts to the museum. Vanderweele said residents need to know what their family has donated and plan a time to get it back within a certain time frame.

“We decided to go to auction because our lawyer said another township had done this and it worked out really well because Biddergy is an online auction venue,” the supervisor said. “We don’t need to have a special day where everyone can come and bid.”

The Alamo Township Historical Museum Facebook page run by museum volunteers expressed frustration over the closure in a May 7 post. A volunteer representative declined to comment and was contacted by MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette.

“I know the band that has this webpage, they’re upset about everything,” Vanderweele said.

She continued: “I know that we are following the direction in which our lawyer advised us. So if something should come up in court, that’s fine with me because I know we did it the right way.

Once the building is emptied, a bell in the rafters will be removed and secured in a display case outside the town hall. The bell is a remnant from when the building was used as a church.

“It will be a piece of history that will live on the grounds of Alamo Township,” Vanderweele said.

The Alamo Township board has yet to decide whether the building will be auctioned off or sold for a fixed price. They have been working with the city attorney to ensure the proper measures are maintained.

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