Thursday, June 20, 2024

Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center to expand and renovate

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WENATCHEE - The Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center announced plans to expand and renovate its historic buildings to create a more inclusive, engaging, and accessible space for visitors. The project aims to enhance the museum's ability to share the stories and heritage of North Central Washington.

The Museum's Board of Directors initiated a Strategic Planning Process in 2019, engaging over 600 museum members, community members, and museum partners to develop outcome-driven goals and metrics to serve its mission over the next five years, with a particular focus on expanding its impact and engaging the community.

As part of this plan, the Museum is reimagining its spaces to improve the visitor experience, making it more inclusive, welcoming, equitable, and accessible while also enhancing downtown Wenatchee. Numerous community engagement processes have been conducted to gather input and ideas for this transformation.

"Our community deserves a thriving museum that offers something for everyone, from our youngest visitors to our lifelong patrons," said Marriah Thornock, Executive Director of the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center. "This expansion and renovation project will allow us to create a more dynamic and interactive space that truly reflects the multi-faceted history and culture of North Central Washington."

Since the last major capital campaign in 1990, the number of visitors to the museum, the use of gathering spaces, and the reach of regional programming have all significantly increased. Over the last year, the museum has experienced a 34% growth in summer camps, programs, and daily visitors. The museum, currently housed in two historic buildings from 1917 and 1937, faces numerous challenges due to outdated infrastructure and space constraints.

"As our museum has grown, so have the challenges of operating within our historic buildings," said Courtney Tiffany, Director of Operations at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center. "The current space constraints not only limit our ability to showcase new and diverse exhibitions but also create bottlenecks in visitor flow."

The Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, operates with the support of the cities of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee. It is housed in two historic federal-style downtown buildings that served early Wenatchee as the Post Office & Annex.

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