2016: A Revolutionary Year for the Concord Museum!

January 25, 2017

We are proud to announce that the Museum’s Board of Governors, under the leadership of President Churchill Franklin, voted unanimously on November 14, 2016, to break ground on a major building project that will transform the existing Museum to meet greatly expanded educational and cultural program needs.

The Building Project

The construction and renovation project represents the culmination of a five-year process, which included strategic planning; a fundraising feasibility study; campus master planning; and budgetary and operational planning for the construction period and beyond. Throughout the planning process, the Building Committee, co-chaired by Governors Ralph Earle and Kyle Barnard, has worked with designLAB architects, a Boston firm, and a team of consultants. Groundbreaking for the project will occur in late February 2017; construction is scheduled to conclude in 2018.

To address its burgeoning space needs, the Museum will replace the Davis Building, which dates from 1980, with a 13,000 square foot education center and an outdoor courtyard. The new building, connected to the main Museum, will double the Museum’s educational capacity with three new classrooms; a multi-purpose Lyceum space; and an innovative History Learning Center for teaching directly from objects.

Within the existing Museum building, a new Gateway to Concord orientation area will welcome visitors to the Museum and to the town. The creation of additional gallery space, expanded and modernized collections storage, and new mechanical systems in the original 1930 building will enable the Museum to better care for and display its exceptional collections. Site improvements–including a significantly expanded parking lot–will improve visitor accessibility and flow to and from the Museum.

The project has received all necessary approvals from Town boards, including the Historic Districts Commission, the Natural Resources Commission, the Planning Board, and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Revolution: The Campaign for the Concord Museum

The project is being funded by a $13 million campaign, which includes $10 million for construction and related costs and $3 million for endowment to secure the Museum’s future.

In just sixteen months, the Museum has raised $10.7 million towards its goal thanks to the tremendous effort and enthusiasm of the Board of Governors (including 100% participation by its members) and the generosity of many leadership level supporters, including a number of significant foundations.

The Museum’s additional transformational achievements in 2016 include the following:

  • Over 12,000 students and teachers participated in the Museum’s curriculum-based school programs this year–nearly double the number served in 2011.
  • The donor-supported Paul Revere’s Ride Fund provided free bus transportation and waived program fees for more than 3,000 students from Lowell, Lawrence, and Everett–a 35% increase over FY15.
  • With support from a local donor, the Museum has obtained a three-year lease for the first floor of the Wright Tavern from First Parish in Concord. The space is being used for school and public programs, and 400 people visited the site on October 15th. It will also serve as an office space for some staff during construction.
  • Thanks to a local supporter, the Museum purchased from the Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial Association 1.4 acres of land adjacent to the Museum to enhance environmental interpretation.
  • The Museum was awarded two prestigious federal grants this year–$159,956 from the National Endowment for the Humanities and $133,249 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
  • Development achievements have surpassed goals for the past six years. Further, the Guild of Volunteers generated net income of $192,000 for the Museum in FY16.
  • Museum attendance increased 25% this year–driven by such successful exhibitions as Middlesex County ModernN. C. Wyeth’s Men of Concord; and The Art and Mystery of the Dollhouse.
  • To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Thoreau’s birth in 2017 and to encourage its constituents to Be Thoreau, the Museum has planned a full year of exhibitions, programs, and events, including a major collaborative exhibition with The Morgan Library & Museum.