Aberdeen museum one step closer to rebirth

Lo and behold. Some progress appears to have finally been made on a new location for the Aberdeen Museum of History more than three years after the armory fire destroyed the local showcase.

Word of a potential location for the museum surfaced during a meeting of the Aberdeen Board of Museum of History on Oct. 5. At one point, the board retreated into executive session to consider the selection of a property for lease or purchase.

The hush-hush session, closed to the public as per state law, was held presumably because public knowledge of the location under consideration could lead to a higher price. Well the way commercial real estate has changed hands around this old fishing and logging town of late — that could be right.

Nevertheless, about 15 minutes later, the board returned and board chairman John Shaw called for a motion on what was discussed behind closed doors.

At that point, board member Mike Schmidt moved that “museum board supports the city’s interest in purchasing the proposed building in downtown Aberdeen to be used for museum purposes.” The board unanimously agreed, it would’ve been shocking if they hadn’t, and voila — a path to a new museum location was solidified.

Aberdeen Mayor Pete Schave, who happened to attend the meeting, was then asked to say a few words. He spoke of how excited he was to move forward with the location, and then talked briefly about the exhaustive process.

“It’s just interesting how we looked and looked, and we looked at this building, and then all of a sudden smack dab in the middle of the city turns out to be one of the best locations we’ve spotted overall, so far,” Schave said.

Surprise! And here we thought the museum was not a priority for Schave, he said as much over the summer, when all along he apparently was pounding the pavement in search of a new home for the displaced showcase.

Schave even dropped a few hints about the property to the board. And, yes, if y’all are wondering, we have a pretty darn good idea of where it is located and the asking price, although just about anything having to do with real estate is negotiable.

“The building is pretty much a shell with pillars and stairwells, and the walls that are in it are just room dividers,” he said. “It’s got the floor plan for what we want to do there, it’s wide open. Anything could be done.”

Short version — the building is going to need some sprucing up. But that’s OK because word of the museum potentially having a new home should go a long way toward placating the numerous residents who felt the city wasn’t doing enough to resolve the issue.

Now all the city of Aberdeen and Schave have to do is seal the deal. We have our doubts, but are rooting for the process to be completed. We should know more within the next 45 days, a timeline spelled out by Schave in a followup interview with The Daily World.