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Upgrading history: City reallocates funds for Moses Lake Museum & Art Center

by CASEY MCCARTHY
Staff Writer | August 10, 2021 1:07 AM

MOSES LAKE — Moses Lake City Council recently approved reallocating money to the Moses Lake Museum & Art Center, which the center will use to upgrade exhibits and collections.

The council on July 27 approved $150,775 for the museum, which it will use to upgrade three natural history exhibits and add an open display area for the Adam East archaeological collection. The museum at 401 S. Balsam St. also received a federal no-match grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal grant agency, for approximately $39,000 Thursday morning for exhibit design and consulting work.

About $440,000 in the city’s general fund went toward the parks budget this year, which was to be paid in debt service beginning in February. With issuance of that payment delayed from February until June, extra funds were available in the parks budget to be reallocated toward the museum project, Moses Lake Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services Department Director Susan Schwiesow said.

“This money was budgeted for debt services for the new LRC (Larson Recreation Center) building, but since we didn’t start paying into debt services until June, we had extra money in the budget,” Schwiesow said.

Dollie Boyd, museum and art center manager, said the money will upgrade the three natural history exhibits in the museum that were started when the building opened in 2011. And, it will cover the costs from the consulting phase to installation.

Boyd said the exhibits were never truly finished and have since been “completed” through the years by various museum directors.

The exhibits, which share the history of Moses Lake, will be upgraded with new interactive features and include multiple perspectives, Boyd said. She said consultants will be brought in to help best accurately showcase the area for all people and cultural backgrounds.

“One idea we had was to contact some of the descendants of Chief Moses, because there are some around, and have someone read his words from one of his letters or one of his speeches and that could be part of the exhibit,” Boyd said.

She said the interactive elements simply will better share the history and legacy of the forefathers of Moses Lake. All of the new interactive exhibits and features will be accessible in Spanish, as well.

The Adam East archaeological collection will be moved from shelves in the back of the museum to an open storage area out on the museum’s floor to allow visitors to observe the pieces.

Boyd said the museum workers are very excited to see this process finally happening and it’s been a long time coming.

“I think it’s going to make a really big impact for the museum; the history of this area is fascinating,” Boyd said. “It’s not very long, but it’s rich.”

With annual attendance numbers for the museum equal to about half the population of Moses Lake, Boyd said it speaks to the reach the museum has in the community. She said she will be eligible to start spending the new funds on Sept. 1 and has already started emailing people and setting up consultant meetings.

Boyd said people won’t see any big physical changes for a while, as the museum staff want to make sure to do everything as accurately as possible. The grant funding is a two-year cycle and she said she hopes to have the application and installation process wrapped up within 18 months to two years.

photo

Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

Moses Lake Museum & Art Center Manager Dollie Boyd stands in front of exhibits from the Adam East archaeological collection at the museum.