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The Crane Museum of Papermaking is located in the 1844 rag room. Changes in security on the Crane campus closed the building and the museum is moving to a pop-up model for now.

Crane Museum Pauses Search for Permanent Location Indefinitely

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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DALTON, Mass. — The Crane Museum of Papermaking has indefinitely paused its search for a permanent location and shifted its focus to a pop-up museum model. 
 
The nonprofit organization searched for a location for two years but was unable to find one it liked. However, a successful pop-up museum last summer at Arrowhead got its leaders rethinking its operations.
 
It is currently unclear if it will reignite the search in the future, but at the moment, the museum's Director Jenna Ware is focusing on the summer season, educational programming, community events, and collaborating with other organizations in the area.
 
When Herman Melville's Arrowhead invited the Crane Museum to have a pop-up, Ware jumped at the opportunity because it had not had a long-standing display in a long time.
 
The Berkshire County Historical Society, which runs the Arrowhead museum, was very welcoming and allowed them to become available to the public quickly, Ware said. 
 
The Crane Museum closed in the spring 2022 when the company, which makes paper currency including for the United States, upgraded its security operations.
 
The museum was located at 32 Pioneer St. in an ivy-covered stone structure dating from 1844 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was the rag room for the first Crane paper mills and hosted exhibits on papermaking and the history of Crane & Co. and the Crane family, and had an activity area for learning how to make paper. 
 
But as Crane grew, so did its campus, and getting to the small museum of papermaking meant driving through the industrial operations, Crane Currency's Global Marketing Director Tod Niedeck said during a previous meeting.
 
The need to keep the materials secure means the adjusted security parameters are no longer allowing for visitors on the property.
 
The company was trying to separate the industrial operation from the welcoming and inviting atmosphere that the museum wants to create, Niedeck said. 
 
Due to what is required of a long-term museum, the search and curating would be a multiple-year endeavor. The pop-up model allows the museum to not only quickly present its history to the community but also reach people it otherwise wouldn't.  
 
"We loved doing the pop-up museum last year. It was great to be at Arrowhead. There were just lovely people. Besides the people who usually come to our museum we were also getting people who might not have encountered Crane history because they were there to see Arrowhead, because they're fans of Herman Melville, or of 'Moby-Dick,'" Ware said. 
 
"And they would pop into our space and learn about papermaking or make their own sheet of paper, learn about the history. We were like the little surprise they weren't looking for and that was really nice to kind of connect with members of the community that we don't usually get to."
 
The pop-up model allows staff to pack up their activities, some historical items or decorations, a small gift shop, depending where they are going, and set it up in a day, she said.
 
"So, it allows us a lot more flexibility. For me what was important was the ability to be offering public programming in 2023 since we hadn't had any in the summer of 2022. So it was great to be able to, with that speed, just get right back out there," Ware said.
 
This summer the museum hopes to hold multiple pop-ups at more locations throughout Berkshire County. 
 
Depending on the location and host organization, the Crane Museum may be able to curate the pop-up to the history of that organization and space. 
 
Herman Melville had visited the mills at Crane and wrote a story about the visit, and bought his paper at Crane to write his books, but Arrowhead didn't have tactile material to display, only documented evidence, said Ware.
 
"We just have historical notations that that was the case. So, there was no real display we could create out of that," she said.
 
Depending on the amount of time the pop-up is in a location and if there is material in the collection, such as photographs, letters, etc., showing the connection between Crane and the organization, then it would be fun to curate based on the organization history, Ware said
 
Although the search for a long-term location has been put on hold, the museum is working on sharing Crane's history with the community in various ways, including community and educational programming, and a project digitizing the collections. 
 
Private archive tours of the museum's collection are available for those doing personal or academic research or someone doing genealogy research for their own families.
 
The museum has also been embarking on a project with Digital Commonwealth to digitize its collection so it is available online. 
 
"For me, the most important thing is to let people know they can contact the museum for any information, whether they want to bring us to school, or have us do a talk at their community organization, or they want to know where we're going to be this summer, or they want to know if they can come research. their great great grandfather who worked here," Ware said. 
 
"[We want them to know] it's very easy to contact the museum and we're happy to talk to people about ways that they can connect with the museum."
 
Organizations, schools, or researchers interested in collaborating with the museum to gain access to the archives, host events or a pop-up, or set up an educational activity can contact Ware at jenna.ware@cranecurrency.com or 413-730-5055.

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Dalton Finance Makes Interdepartmental, Reserve Fund Transfers

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
DALTON, Mass. — The Finance Committee made a number of interdepartmental and reserve fund transfers during its meeting last week. 
 
The reserve fund balance is currently $58,000, Town Manager Thomas Hutcheson said. 
 
The committee also approved a reserve fund transfer to the employee fringe benefits account for $1,200; the current balance is $183.55. The town originally appropriated $2,114.
 
It also approved the transfer of $1,500 from the reserve fund to the Medicare account, which currently has a balance of $4,510. The town originally appropriated $50,000. 
 
Finance Chair William Drosehn said these increases are due to additional hires, according to town Treasurer Dawn Fahey. 
 
Fahey said she feels confident that the requested amount will be enough, he said. 
 
Hutcheson said he does not foresee any more onboarding before June 30. 
 
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