Plan to secure storage space for advances in the Hatfield Historical Museum

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Published: 08/12/2022 18:35:17

Modified: 08/12/2022 18:32:03

HATFIELD – With time running out to secure storage space for much of the historic Hatfield Museum collection, including furniture from Smith College founder Sophia Smith, city officials are moving forward with a plan to consolidate items into a mixed-use building on Elm Street.

The Select Board this week approved a plan, proposed by the Hatfield Historical Commission and supported by the Hatfield Historical Society, under which the materials will be moved to a 650 square foot location in the Diamond Back Properties building at 65D Elm St.

Historical Commission Chairman Amy Hahn said the proposal by Tim Paciorek, who manages Diamond Back, will allow for city artifacts to be moved from the Five College Library Annex and Benson’s Self Storage, where they have been kept since the summer of 2019, amid fears of possible damage from insects and rodents.

Additionally, the commission was granted a November 30 deadline by Smith College to take possession of the Sophia Smith furniture collection.

“We really need to find places to put this stuff,” Hahn said.

Hahn said Paciorek’s rental provides a good storage option that’s climate-controlled and secure, including cameras, and where archivists can work with the material.

“We have an important collection, it’s important to the city, it’s our history and it’s our job to protect it,” Hahn said.

Museum materials, apart from what is kept and displayed at its main location on the second floor of the Hatfield Public Library, have been moved off-site to make way for a renovation and accessibility project at the Hall of town three years ago.

The space in the Elm Street building is next to the loading dock and on the first floor, and will be suitable, said Bob Osley, president of the Hatfield Historical Society. “We’re looking for safe storage with good access,” Osley said.

Board member Ed Jaworski said the new location is a good fit for the next two years, providing a safe and secure environment that is also expandable.

“It’s perfect for now,” Jaworski said.

The two-year lease would cost $1,500 per month in the first year and a 3% increase in the second year.

These costs could be covered by funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The select committee’s vote commits the city to the space until June 30, 2023 and a likely funding discussion at a town hall.

Scott Merzbach can be contacted at [email protected]

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