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Remodel of Prairie Village Museum in final stages

By Staff | May 5, 2017

Executive Director Cathy Jelsing setting up souvenirs in newly remodeled museum gift shop (Carissa Mavec/PCT)

Prairie Village Museum is in the finishing stages of its remodel, with all major interior construction completed.

The museum store has a completely new look, with the space being dedicated solely to customer service. Wooden flooring, bright lighting and a custom made welcome desk invite guests into the museum, where souvenirs and museum information will be available.

The new Rugby Chamber and CVB office is also conveniently located in the front.

Through the main corridor and past the gallery, museum Executive Director Cathy Jelsing’s office is to the left, while the museum’s first ever Collections Room is across the hall to the right.

“I’m happy with the way it turned out,” Jelsing said. “I would like to consider this as Rugby’s new welcome center.”

The Collections Room is a great asset for the museum to have, as there is now a space dedicated to taking care of the collections in a temperature-controlled room. Archival items will also be held in this room, such as files and photos of collections.

Currently, the museum’s doll collection is still being processed. Once done, some of the collection will be displayed in three cases in the gallery. The rest will be put into storage, unless a more permanent place can be found.

The dollhouse is still being evaluated to see whether or not it can be repaired, which is a top priority project for the museum.

Another priority is the exterior and interior repainting of the caboose, as well as the reinstallation of seats.

Cases and collections also need to be moved back into place, as everything was moved during the remodel. Certain collections are being moved to new spaces or into new cases.

“We still have a lot of work to do, but it will all come together. We have some major decisions to make about we’re going to display in certain areas,” Jelsing said.

The interior remodel is phase one of the construction happening at the museum. Next, the exterior faade in the front will be getting remodeled this summer.

The Board of Directors has hired Jelsing’s husband, Terry, as the consultant for the project. He has extensive experience in consulting and will be in charge of figuring out construction costs, drawing out blueprints and drawing out the design for the exterior.

Current plans include adding a boardwalk, taking out the chain-link fence, adding awnings onto the buildings and making the front buildings look like a mini-village. Nothing has been decided yet, however.

Estimated construction costs are approximately $75,000 for the interior remodel. The museum was given a donation of $250,000 from Victor Buchta’s estate, which leaves money for the exterior remodel to be done, as well.

“I hope he is in heaven smiling down on us and the remodel,” Jelsing said.

Jelsing is hoping that the remodel will draw support from the community to come visit the museum, see the changes and buy souvenirs.

“Our general operating support is short, so we really need people to come visit both the museum and our gift shop. We’re expanding the gift shop quite a bit, so I’m hoping it does well and we get some additional revenue from that,” Jelsing said.

Although remodeling is still happening, the museum is officially open for school tours. There are currently tours scheduled for schools from Belcourt, Stanley, Harvey, Bottineau, Devil’s Lake, St. John, Minot, Velva and Maddock.

The museum will be open for general admission May 15, with a grand opening event to be held June 10-11. The open house will be free admission to the public.

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