Plan to secure storage space for Hatfield Historical Museum advances

  • Hatfield Historical Museum Curator Kathie Gow makes adjustments to the letter against licensing alcohol in Hatfield, written by retired Congregational Church Minister Rev. Robert M. Woods in 1908. Gazette file photo

Staff Writer
Published: 8/12/2022 6:35:17 PM
Modified: 8/12/2022 6:32:03 PM

HATFIELD — With time running out for securing storage space for much of the Hatfield Historical Museum collection, including Smith College founder Sophia Smith’s furniture, town officials are moving forward with a plan to consolidate the items at a mixed-use building on Elm Street.

The Select Board this week signed off on a plan, proposed by the Hatfield Historical Commission and supported by the Hatfield Historical Society, that will have the materials go to a 650-square-foot spot in the Diamond Back Properties building at 65D Elm St.

Historical Commission Chairwoman Amy Hahn said the proposal from Tim Paciorek, who manages Diamond Back, will allow the town artifacts to be moved from the Five College Library Annex and Benson’s Self Storage, where they have been kept since summer of 2019, amid worries of possible damage from insects and rodents.

In addition, the commission has been given a deadline of Nov. 30 by Smith College to take possession of the Sophia Smith furniture collection.

“We really need to find places to put this stuff,” Hahn said.

Hahn said leasing from Paciorek gives a good storage option that is climate controlled and has security, including cameras, and where archivists can work with the material.

“We do have an important collection, it is important to the town, it is our history, and it is our duty to protect it,” Hahn said.

The museum’s materials, aside from what is held and on display at its main location on the second floor of the Hatfield Public Library, were relocated off site to make way for a renovation and accessibility project at Town Hall three years ago.

The space in the Elm Street building is next to the loading dock and on the first floor, and will be suitable, said Bob Osley, president of the Hatfield Historical Society. “We’re looking for safe storage with good access,” Osley said.

Select Board member Ed Jaworski said the new location is a good solution for the next two years, providing a secure and safe environment that is also expandable.

“This is perfect for now,” Jaworski said.

The two-year lease would cost $1,500 per month for the first year, and a 3% increase in the second year.

These costs might be covered by American Rescue Plan Act funds. The Select Board’s vote commits the town to the space through June 30, 2023 and a likely discussion of funding at a Town Meeting.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.
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