NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The North Adams Museum of History and Science has a new home downtown dedicated to late state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi.
After a year of planning and moving, the museum opened its doors Saturday morning at the more accessible and centralized location on the first floor of the Holiday Inn.
"Welcome everybody to our museum in its new home. I am glad you could all be here," North Adams Historical Society President Charles "Chuck" Cahoon said before a "reverse ribbon-cutting" held indoors because of the cold.
The museum was located in the Western Gateway Heritage State Park for years but after the city began discussions on selling the park, the Historical Society began to look for a new location.
"We have always before been in borrowed space and we have never had a lease so we could never go for grants," Cahoon said. "Because the future of the park was not certain, we knew that we were going to have to find a new home."
The society eventually settled on the space on the first floor of the hotel at Main and American Legion Drive and plan to store some archival material on a soon-to-be renovated room on the upper levels of the public library.
Cahoon thanked all who made the move possible and included volunteers and Holiday Inn management.
He gave a special thanks to Cariddi and asked the dozens who attended the opening to take a moment of silence in her memory.
Cariddi left the Historical Society more than $35,000.
"She was very generous in giving us a portion of her estate that allowed us to build this," Cahoon said.
Cahoon said the old museum was over three levels, which although it was spacious, was not handicapped accessible. He said the new spot is all one level and will allow the rotation of exhibits.
Mayor Thomas Bernard thanked the Holiday Inn for offering up the space. He said the new location will be more accessible to community members and visitors alike.
"The ability to be in the downtown is powerful ... and the fact that the space was available and the Holiday Inn stepped up is incredible," he said. "I think the traffic form the community and people who are visiting is going to change the use, the understanding, and the engagement with history."
Cahoon agreed with this sentiment and said the city's history a "microcosm of Americana" and anyone can find a connecting point.
"What you have here is a ... microcosm of Americana as it happened in North Adams," he said. "Visitors come here that have never been to the city before. They enjoy it as much as the locals."
Cahoon said the museum is always looking for volunteers. He said, at a minimum, the commitment is a three-hour shift a month.
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