The artifacts have been tucked away in boxes in a storage unit since the San Simeon Earthquake in 2003 damaged the Rotunda Building, where the collection was originally displayed.
With the Rotunda Building still years and millions of dollars away from being restored, the society’s board of directors decided it was time to move forward. Portions of the society’s collection are now on display for public perusal at the Colony House – across the road from the former City Hall.
Volunteers have labored since January to ready the Colony House – adding a fresh coat of paint inside, installing a security system, and hammering nails into the walls to hang its collection of historical photographs.
“It is so important to have a museum,” said Ann Lewis Wright, the collection’s curator. “We were just fading away.”
The society plans to move the collection back to the Rotunda Building as soon as it is restored.
“We’ve been talking about finding a temporary solution for years now, and we are finally moving forward,” said Jim Wilkins, board president.
“It took a while for the board to agree that some of the special things in the collection will be OK in the house.”
The display includes an information/reading room containing newspaper archives dating back to the early 1900s. New to the collection is an E.G. Lewis oak dining set that dates back 100 years.
The museum will be open Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. with plans to increase the hours based on demand – likely to two or three days a week.
“We’ve been down for a long time,” Wright said. “Quite a few docents kept the Rotunda collection open to the public and we have to resurrect that.”
Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939.