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Monday, May 20, 2024


Museum Closed ‘Pathway to History’ Underway

By Al Campbell

Work began Jan. 11 on the long-anticipated Pathways to History project. It’s expected to be completed by the end of February.
The first public event there is scheduled for March 15.
When completed, the $200,000 project will result in a redesigned entrance to the museum over engraved brick walkways that will also make it easier for persons in wheelchairs to visit.
The project, over two years in the planning stage, will also include sitting areas, exterior lighting, gardens and a ramp to the office and library for handicap accessibility.
Balmy weather helped speed the work of removing red walkway bricks by hand.
That work was performed, brick by brick, for the entire stretch of walks by the project’s masonry contractor, Michael DiPalantino Contractors of Court House.
Some large cedar trees had to be removed to improve exposure to the museum, according to Curator Rachel Rodgers.
One of the main reasons for that was because many visitors stop in as they ride by, she said. Translated, that means seeing equals stopping, and more visits is better for the museum, which has an admission fee.
“We plan to replant trees. This time it will be done in a planned landscape fashion,” Rodgers said.
After bricks are removed, walk areas will be regraded. Trenches, to accommodate electric wires for new outdoor lights, will be dug at that time.
In the interim, as work progresses there, county workers are sanding and repainting the exterior of the museum’s John Holmes House (circa1755).
Funding for the project came largely by way of donations, Rodgers said.
Some purchased engraved bricks, similar to those at Hereford Inlet Lighthouse, North Wildwood, or the Public Safety Memorial at the east entrance to the Cape May County Park, just north on Route 9.
There were two bequests by former board members, said Rodgers.
The project still needs about $100,000 to reach its final goal, and she is certain that more donations will be received after the work progresses further.
“It will be done prior to the summer season,” said Rodgers.
While the museum at 504 Route 9 North is closed, its library, used by many for genealogical research, is open by appointment only as work continues. Office hours remain Tuesday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Access is by the south driveway, located to the north of Oceana Rehabilitation and Nursing Center’s entrance.
There is still an opportunity for donors, private and business, to buy an engraved brick for the walkway.
Bricks are either 4-inch-by-8-inch or 8-inch square. Benches are also available that can be inscribed with a message, name, and date of the donor’s choosing.
Those interested may visit the museum’s Web site or call (609) 465-3535.
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