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Prescott's Sharlot Hall Museum to Begin $2 Million Expansion


After 90 years, a Prescott museum known for its large collection of photos and documents of Arizona history is getting an update.

The Sharlot Hall Museum will break ground in January on a planned expansion that will include a new education center, the Daily Courier in Prescott reported .

"We needed a larger space," museum executive director Fred Veil said.

The museum currently has a theater with a 50-person seating capacity and a gallery that can fit 70 people. But too often people have to be turned away from different programs, Veil said.

The new education facility will have an auditorium with theater-style seating for 135 people. The facility will also include a multi-purpose room that can host functions. In addition, the project will add 3,500 square feet (325 square meters) for storage.

"We can consolidate everything to there, have a larger auditorium to be able to put on larger presentations, particularly as it relates to the education side," said museum spokesman Ken Leja.

The project was first proposed in 2016 and has garnered more than $2 million in funding. Construction was set to begin earlier this year but delayed because of issues with the soil, according to Veil. An engineer sampled the soil and determined it was unsustainable for a building. Crews ended up digging out the entire footprint of the building down to 14 feet (4.3 meters) and adding new soil.

"It turned out to be a good thing for us because while it costs more money than we had anticipated, it'll be at the same level as the basement in this existing building, Lawler, which will enable us to have a passageway through it," Veil said.

The education center is scheduled to open sometime in 2020.

Sharlot Hall was founded in 1928 by Sharlot Mabridth Hall, an activist and poet who is considered Arizona's first historian. Today, the museum consists of seven historic buildings and houses roughly 40,000 objects.


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