Historic renovation: ‘100-Plus’ donation to aid museum’s dry building project

Menominee Range Historical Museum volunteer Terry Sovey looks through old switchboard contacts at the museum in Iron Mountain. The museum group is the recipient of a gift exceeding $20,000 from the 100-Plus Women Who Care of Dickinson County. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Menominee Range Historical Museum will get a boost in its efforts to refurbish its dry building at the “C” Ludington Shaft of the Chapin Mine, thanks to 100-Plus Women Who Care of Dickinson County.

The museum group earlier this week became the latest recipient of the quarterly donation from the 100-Plus Women, who gather every three months to pick a local non-profit to receive a pot of contributions generated by the assembly that usually totals about $23,000 to $24,000.

The museum needs to finish renovating the dry building so it can get its collection out of the Carnegie Public Library, a site owned by the Iron Mountain School District that has had some electrical problems and water leaks. The archive materials once kept in the library were moved to the dry building last year to better protect their integrity.

Another key advantage: “It’s going to be something the Menominee Range Historical Foundation actually owns,” volunteer Terry Sovey said.

Built in 1910, the “dry” building actually once was a sanitary house where miners would wash and dress, with shower baths and more than 600 steel lockers to store fresh clothes.

Renovation of the dry building — a former changing room for miners — will enable the Menominee Range Historical Foundation to move exhibits out of an aging structure owned by the Iron Mountain School District.

The 100-Plus donation will go toward constructing new partition walls in the dry building and adding heating and ventilation ducts, gas piping and LED lighting, along with a cement handicap ramp at the east end emergency exit.

The estimated cost of the work totals $31,382, Sovey said.

“It’s such a worthy cause,” she said, later adding, “It’s going to be so great; we’re so excited.”

Once the building renovation is completed, the museum will move the remaining exhibits in the library — which include an early doll collection, pharmacy and doctor’s office — to the site across from the Cornish Pumping Engine and Mining Museum on Kent Street in Iron Mountain.

The museum was among three area 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations drawn at random to give presentations on their causes after being nominated for consideration. The assembly then votes on which one should receive the charitable gift.

The other two organizations vying for the donation were Friends of the Dickinson County Fair, who wanted the money for handicap ramps at the Dickinson County Fairgrounds, and Fireflies, a support group that connects families with professional health and wellness services.

The museum previously had won the donation in May 2014. If four meetings have passed since a group was selected for the donation, it is eligible to be nominated again.

Since 2012, 100-Plus Women Who Care has raised $581,000 for charities and organizations in the Dickinson County area. For more information, email dc100women@gmail.com. Membership forms also are available at the quarterly events at Pine Grove Country Club in Iron Mountain. All women are welcome to take part.

Brian Christensen can be reached at 906-774-2772, ext. 29, or bchristensen@ironmountaindailynews.com.