New Museum Project Update: We Heard You

VMHA Building Committee Meeting     2/3/21

When the team of Wolf Architecture/Hennebery Eddy Architects presented conceptual designs for the new museum to the VMHA Building Committee and museum staff on Jan. 15, 2021, concerns were raised about the fate of the Old Town Model. The Valdez Online Bulletin Board Facebook post of that presentation elicited many comments from people who also voiced concerns about the model not being included in its existing form within the new museum.  At the Jan. 21, 2021 VMHA Board meeting the subject was of sufficient concern that it was decided to have the Building Committee members meet again with Wolf/Hennebery Eddy to discuss the Old Town Model and possible solutions to the various concerns.

That meeting took place on Jan. 29, 2021. Recognizing the importance of the subject, the architectural team prepared an excellent presentation of possible solutions that would incorporate the model into the new museum building. This presentation also included some possibilities for compressing the layout of the model to save space, while still preserving the context and viewing ability. Building Committee members and museum staff unanimously favored the location plan labeled “CIRCULATION – B” where the model would reside in one of the compressed layout options within the proposed circulation area at the top of the stairs. This option means the Old Town Model would be the first thing people see as they enter the upstairs Main Gallery, whether by the stairs or the elevator. Also, unlike other options, it would not compete with the Main Gallery space. 

CIRCULATION – B conceptual floor plan

The group also reviewed alternative proposals for the model layout, but did not reach a consensus as to a preference. To help determine the most effective compressed layout, it was decided that volunteers would gather at the annex where the model is located and physically move the modules around to see what spacing works best.

Building Committee members and Museum staff suggested that Wolf/Hennebery Eddy move forward with their preferred design. All VMHA Board members are being asked to review the architects’ recent presentation and meeting notes to see if they concur with the preferred choice of “CIRCULATION – B” as a location for the model, or if they have any significant concerns regarding the global decision to include the model in the new building. In reflecting back on the progress made during the Jan. 29, 2021 Building Committee meeting, VMHA Board Vice-President Gary Minish said:

“I personally think this was a very productive meeting that will result in a design that will be effective and accepted by all the stakeholders. Many thanks to the Wolf/Hennebery team for their excellent work of presenting alternatives, and to the Building Committee members and museum Staff for attending the meeting and actively participating in the Pros and Cons discussions.”