Jones Library, Amherst town center
At last night's Community Preservation Act Committee meeting, while advocating for $20,000 to do an archaeological site survey of the Strong House historic property in town center, Jim Wald mentioned the Amherst Historical Society is considering a future alliance with the Jones Library, their immediate neighbor.
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Thus the archaeological survey (which will use ground-penetrating radar) will come in handy when the Jones Library doubles in size, possibly using Strong House property. Since the Strong House is such a historical treasure the state would require an archaeological survey prior to any construction taking place anywhere on their property.
Simeon Strong House, home to Amherst History Museum
Jim Wald also pointed out the 1750-era Strong House was originally a home designed for Simeon Strong, an upper crust Amherst resident (the original 1%). Now as a public museum it houses over 1,500 artifacts related to the history of our town.
The Jones Library expansion could provide plenty of climate controlled, handicapped accessible space to help store precious artifacts under museum control possibly including the only known surviving dress of Amherst's most famous resident, Emily Dickinson.
Strong House left, Jones Library right
Last spring Town Meeting approved $25,000 in design money (matched by a $50,000 state grant) to get the ball rolling on an expansion that would double the size of the current Library.
The last time the Jones was expanded/renovated was in 1993. The state would pay half the cost of the renovation/expansion, with a total price tag in the $10 million range.
Of course the Jones Library will have to get in line with competing major construction projects looming on the horizon, including the forever talked about South Fire Station, a new Department of Public Works building and the renovation or demolition of Wildwood Elementary School.