Museum fundraising for new building

There are glass jars on some of the store counters in Bentley with the Bentley Museum's name on them.

By June Norvila

There are glass jars on some of the store counters in Bentley with the Bentley Museum’s name on them. They are part of the start of a major fundraising campaign by the Bentley Museum Society who wants to let people know why they are visibly accepting donations.

It seems the accredited museum is always short of display space, no matter how much they add, as more artifacts are constantly being donated. The lean-to off of their main 36′ X 40′ agricultural building was filled before they even got it built.

Now plans are underway to build a 40′ X 60′ metal clad fully insulated heated building at an estimated cost of $100,000. It is to have 12′ high walls to accommodate more display area, have an overhead door at the south end to allow for the entry of larger artifacts, and a regular walk-in door on the northeast corner easily accessible from the current walkway. It is planned to have movable partitions inside to accommodate various themes.

“We finally have all the permits and paperwork in place now,” said society chairperson Doris Bargholz.

Construction will take place on land adjoining their current property that the society purchased in 2006. Parts of two adjoining lots to the immediate west of their current location added an area 45′ X 70′ to their property that will basically be filled by the new building.

Estimates for work have been gathered locally. The society will be their own contractor using as many local workers as possible, said board member Ralph Scarlett.

“The new land was rezoned commercial from light industrial (by the town) to allow for the biggest building possible,” Scarlett explained. “We are waiting to hear back on an application for a $45,000 provincial Community Facility Enhancement grant application. There is $10,000 in the (current) building fund from a past casino. Another $45,000 to 50,000 will have to be raised locally.”

The society is scheduled for a casino next January but part of those funds is already designated.

“About $15,000 (from the casino) could be used for the new building,” Scarlett estimates.

Lacombe County will be approached, and other grants will be applied for after word is received on the CFEP application.

In the meantime, society volunteers are serving lunch a couple of weeks at the Bentley Farmers’ Market, are doing 50/50 draws, and have the glass donation jars around town.

Clubs, and other groups and organizations, and individuals have always been very good backing the museum in the past and will be looked to again.

It is hoped groundwork will start this year.

The public is invited to drop in and look around and visit with Maeriann Rosenthal who has returned as the summer museum hostess this year after working there last summer and loving the job.

Summer hours are 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is always free. Society memberships are available.

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