In one of those moments that brings joy to the heart, construction for renovations began on August 15, 2007, at the new home of the National Museum of Surveying in Springfield, IL. Brad Rushing with Landgrebe Interior Construction brought in staff and equipment on the 15th and immediately went to work removing old carpet, ceiling, and other items that had to be out of the way. The immediate task at hand is to prepare the basement storage areas so that the National Museum of Surveying and the Under the Prairie Museum can start furnishing their respective storage areas and move in their collections in anticipation of a spring 2008 opening.
Since purchasing the building on March 1, 2007, the National Museum of Surveying had been preparing for this day by dreaming about interior layout for the building, firming up lease arrangements with prospective tenants, and working with architects. Architect Wally Henderson worked with us for several months and recently turned the project over to the firm of Graham & Hyde who are the firm that designed the original building. Their combined efforts are leading to a well designed, functional layout that will serve us for years to come.
In other news, fund raising efforts are progressing with many nice donations showing up in the mail on a daily basis. Of particular note in recent weeks is the increasing level of participation from surveying chapters across the nation. From North to South, East to West, gifts from chapters are arriving in amounts from $500 to $15,000. And there must be something special if the name of the chapter include the words “North-East” as evidenced by two of our larger gifts. The North-East chapter of Texas sent a gift of $2,000 and the Northeast chapter of Illinois sent a gift and pledge totaling $15,000. Another major chapter gift came from the Two Rivers, Illinois, chapter which sent a gift of $5,000. If all the chapters from across the country participated, we would put a very large dent in our mortgage and construction costs.
A very special gift arrived in the mail from the student chapter of South Western Community College in Sylva, NC. These students, according to Professor Peter Messier, took it upon themselves to raise $300 for the Museum. Friends like these students are indeed very special to the Museum.
Elsewhere, individual gifts and state society gifts are coming in, but there is still a long way to go before we open our doors. The Board of Trustees is currently receiving applications for a Director of the Museum and hope to have staff on board by the end of October. Grant applications are being submitted for other sources of funding with an optimistic outlook for success.