2007-11-08 / News

Jamestown Historical Society News

By Rosemary Enright

The JHS Capital Campaign began in January 2007. It will end in January 2008. We set out to raise $500,000 to renovate the museum, build a vault for our most precious archives, continue the process of cataloging our collection, expand our outreach to the schools, and create an endowment so that we will have a regular annual income to support our mission.

Workers build a new accessible walkway into the Jamestown Museum. Workers build a new accessible walkway into the Jamestown Museum. Many Jamestowners have responded generously, and we have raised over 80 percent of the necessary funds. Thank you.

We are still about $90,000 short of our $500,000 goal, and we need your help.

Next week the Jamestown Press will contain a special insert from the JHS Capital Campaign Committee - an oversized, 5- by 7-inch envelope with a request to each person reading the Press to help us.

We know that many of you support the goals of the JHS. You are proud of the Old Jamestown Windmill, which we own and maintain. You were excited and pleased when we purchased the 1657 Land Agreement document, which will soon be on display in the new Jamestown Town Hall. During the recent Jamestown Vision meetings, you strongly expressed the desire to maintain the character of the island, including saving the older buildings that contribute to its charm. Taking care of historic sites and preserving historic artifacts and documents requires funding. Please take the time to read our request and donate to the campaign if you can.

If you send a donation of $25 to the JHS Capital Campaign - $10 if you are under 16 - you are also invited to become a part of Jamestown's history by writing a "Message to the Future." A blank "Message to the Future" card will be inside each envelope. If you want, you can fill in the card and send it back with your gift - or if you have already contributed, just send the card. You may say anything you want on your card. You may draw a picture or write a poem. You may tell a story - fact or fiction. You may record what you think the future will be like. Or write anything else you want to say to people 50 years from now.

The "Message to the Future" cards will be put in a waterproof, fireproof, sealed Time Capsule and placed under the floor of the museum. A small brass plaque in the museum floor will remind Jamestowners where and what the Time Capsule is so they will open it in 2057, the 400th anniversary of the purchase of the island.

Please help us.

Renovation Progress

Construction supported by the Capital Campaign funds is going on now. The exterior modifications at the museum are moving forward quickly. The new sewer line - an infrastructure upgrade that was necessary before we could begin to build the handicap walkway - is in place. The concrete steps in the front, a relatively modern addition to the building, have been jackhammered away. Portions of the stonewall along Narragansett Avenue have been removed to widen the entrance from the street, and the stone has been saved for rebuilding the wall along the east side of the property. If the weather holds, the entries will soon be graded in preparation for building the new access walk and stairs, and the east wall will be rebuilt.

The vault in the Town Hall basement is finished. The archival shelving was installed the last week of October, a little earlier than scheduled. Transfer of the archives to their new home is temporarily delayed because of the limited access to the museum occasioned by the work there and because of the need for more shelving.

"The Jamestown Bridge, 1940- 2007: Concept to Demolition," Sue Maden's updated history of the Jamestown Bridge is now on sale at Baker's Pharmacy, Conanicut Marine Ship's Store, Jamestown Designs, Jamestown Hardware, and the Jamestown Press. We will also be selling autographed copies at the CIAA-sponsored Holiday Craft Show at the Melrose School on Dec.1.

A program based on the book was presented at the Jamestown Philomenian Library on Nov. 1 to an enthusiastic audience. Sue will present the program again at the North Kingstown Library in the spring. Excerpts from the book are planned as a photo essay in the spring issue of the Newport History, the journal of the Newport Historical Society.

Pictures of the building of the bridge - some from the book and others from the historical society's collection - are also featured at the Newport Public Library as a follow up to their exhibit on the demolition of the bridge.

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