The Rehoboth Beach Museum has announced that it will embark on a new era in 2018 by beginning construction in January of a second floor expansion of its facilities at 511 Rehoboth Ave.
Museum Director Nancy Alexander said, "With our plans to nearly double the museum's usable space, we will be able to expand the museum's permanent collection offerings, create more innovative special exhibitions, host more special lectures and musical events, have room for a research department, and make our facilities available for public and private events and celebrations."
The museum also announced that to facilitate the second-floor construction, the museum would be closed through the winter and spring months, with a hoped-for grand reopening of the new two-story facility by early June.
Alexander explained, "Because the noise, dust, and coming and going of workers and materials delivery during construction could adversely impact the existing first-floor exhibition, and frankly could result in less favorable experiences by visitors to the museum during this period, the board and I decided it would be more efficient and desirable to just concentrate on the construction by temporarily closing our doors during this normal off-season."
The second floor expansion will add more than 2,000 square feet of usable space to enhance museum operations. A 700-square-foot area for exhibit space, and another 700-square-foot multi-purpose room will give the museum considerable flexibility in designing special shows and events, and in engaging with the Rehoboth community on the city's historic past. A 300-square-foot library will allow the museum to expand its collection of historical materials, a 200-square-foot work room will be created for use by staff and volunteers alike, and more than 250 square feet will be added for artifact and document storage. The expansion includes finalizing work on an elevator.
Rehoboth Beach Historical Society President Paul Kuhns said, "The museum wants to thank the many friends and patrons of the museum who have contributed to our expansion fund, and to numerous organizations and foundations that have supported this effort through generous grants. We have been conducting fundraising efforts for the project for over 10 years, but made the decision to hold-off on actual construction until the fundraising goals were nearly met. We are still in need of some funds to finish the project."
Kuhns said, "The board is excited that this day has come, and that in January, we can begin to turn our vision into a reality that will contribute to the life and spirit of Rehoboth Beach."
The Rehoboth Beach Museum has been operating its one-floor facility since November 2007 in the historic Rehoboth Beach Ice House. The original wooden ice house building was constructed in 1912, but in 1923, John Lingo replaced it with the current brick building. The City of Rehoboth Beach purchased the building in 1998, and in 2002, entered into a 50-year lease with the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society to operate the museum.