In September 2019 the McCleary Historical Society was asked to leave its home of 35 years. Call it fate, if you will, the United Methodist Church building became available to the Society. A year later we are doing a final fundraising push to raise the funds to finish paying for the building. The community has proven to us that they want us to succeed. We know we have their support.
The new facility will be known as the McCleary Museum and Heritage Center. We are striving to open by December. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we cannot continue with the Christmas Eve service this year. Some displays have been set up – many more are in the works. The moonshine still was among the first to be completed. We have a lot of interest in that piece of history. We will house a Visitor Center to be open on the weekends. We will have a gift shop full of local talent. The chapel will be used as an event center to hold weddings, memorial services, family gatherings and the like. The possibilities are limitless.
Besides looking for grants we are holding fundraising events almost monthly. With the support of the community we have done some major repairs that were strongly suggested by the City of McCleary’s building inspector. The chimney had to be earthquake proofed. That was in grave danger of losing bricks. It had been shaken completely loose by the Nisqually quake. The old building, built in 1926, had knob and tube wiring. No insurance company would insure us until that was updated. The front office windows had wood rot and needed to be completely replaced. The replacement windows are beautiful. They were hand made with energy efficient glass. Volunteers came in right away and repainted the main hall to a neutral color. The sign out front was changed from THE METHODIST CHURCH to THE McCLEARY MUSEUM AND HERITAGE CENTER and paid for by a member.
We had to buy additional fire extinguishers and exit signs. We will all be getting safety training on the proper use of fire extinguishers.
We now have a strong volunteer base, but we are always looking for more talent. Recently we had local talent, Charlie Watts, step in and restore the model of the old Summit School House – later Grange Hall.
Our goal is to preserve the past, and teach it to generation after generation. This is your museum. Enjoy it.