By John Anderson
This is a very special week for many people as they get together to share some turkey, stuffing and, of course, pie. Many will give thanks for their family and friends, and that includes the staff at the Auburn Historical Museum. A project that was nearly two years in the making is finally coming to fruition, and both the staff and visitors will enjoy the changes.
Tuesday morning might well have been Christmas morning as Auburn Historical Society President Sari Bitticks savored the work being done by Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School students. The project will raise the level of 18 display cases for better viewing, add storage drawers underneath, and install LED lighting. Bitticks told Auburn Mass Daily, “We want the community to know what these people can do.” She is excited about the work and the future impact on the small museum that houses thousands of artifacts from Auburn’s past.
Dave Martinson leads the cabinetmaking crew that had 14 students on site during Tuesday’s school day, and Justin Verham supervises the electrical program which also had 14 students at the museum. The small display room was a bit crowded, but a lot of work was getting done. The 18 drawer bases, 36 drawers and 18 kick bases were fabricated last spring by sophomores and juniors under the direction of Ray Mahon at the Charlton campus. Juniors, the sophomores from last spring, were doing the install this week.
While the display room looked hectic, four electrical students, including three from Auburn, were busy in the crawl space below establishing the feeds that will power the new LED lighting. Despite the cobwebs and rocky floor, they were working hard and enjoying the encountered challenges.
When students arrived on Monday, the first task was to remove all the glass from the existing display cabinets. Each panel was labeled and stored in one of the bathrooms, and the volume was amazing. Each will be replaced next week after the cabinets are trimmed out and the project is completed.
Being a voke school project, the only cost to the museum is materials that were estimated to be $4,400. Mary Gough from Webster Federal Credit Union took the helm of the fundraising initiative, and the dollars are in place. Like many other Bay Path projects, scheduling can get complicated, and that is why the shop work was done in one school year and the installation occurs in another. The school is also constructing a residence in Auburn as part of its House Building Program.
Bitticks could not say enough positive things about the students and their teachers. “They are very professional and polite. They even eat their lunches on the buses, so we don’t have crumbs everywhere.”
The Auburn Historical Museum is having a very busy year with 529 visitors so far. Curiosity about the improved display of artifacts will hopefully build that number. Thank you Bay Path!