Improvements coming to Patton Museum

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Next spring, when individuals pass the Patton Museum, they will notice a few cosmetic changes to the building.

On Nov. 1, the museum will close for approximately six months to complete a few improvements to a building that dates from 1972. The museum will close for visitor’s safety and some essential services won’t be available during the renovation.

Alice Hart, the director of the museum, said it will receive a new roof and roof facade, which will improve the building’s appearance.

Having renovations done in a museum is different than most buildings, according to Hart, because she has to control dust and debris differently.

“Dust and clean up needs to be more frequent,” said Hart. “The museum staff will keep a close eye to make sure artifacts are well-cared for to ensure they remain safe and secure.”

The HVAC system, which has about
15 units on the roof, will also change.
The system will no longer be on the roof.

“We are going to have a new HVAC system with humidity control,” explained Hart. “Humidity control is very important to a museum. This is going to be a big improvement to the museum environment. It will be a benefit to maintaining and caring for the artifacts long term. Those will be located on the ground level, which will improve maintenance.”

The glass and metal in the atrium located in the front of the museum has deteriorated over the years, and that glass and metal framework will be replaced.

The sidewalk located in front of the building to the parking lot will also be replaced.

“(The sidewalk) is cracked, broken and uneven in places and it’s going to be widened (with) a cover over it,” she said. “Everybody will (enter through) the 31W (Dixie Highway) gate and park in the visitor lot. We are going to have some benches along the way so people can stop and rest.”

The parking lot will be repaved and there will be additional spaces allotted for handicap parking. Hart pointed out there will be a shelter for people who need to wait for a bus, ride or someone in a wheelchair.

A new addition to the museum will be guards who screen visitors in the lobby. Hart said if the museum were to have one or two busloads of visitors arrive at the same time, the atrium is unable to hold all of them. A new roofed awning will be added that will be the width of the concrete area in the front of the building and will extend if there is a need to provide protection during inclement weather.

“If there is a need for a large group to be screened all at once (the roofed awning) gives people a place to wait out of inclement weather,” Hart said.

Changing and adding to the building isn’t the only work that will be done at the museum.

Hart said the emergency exit doors will be replaced to meet current codes. The bathrooms will also be updated to fully meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

One of the more popular areas in the museum, Abrams Auditorium, will receive new carpet. Hart said there are some organizations that have scheduled the auditorium and those events that can’t be moved will be accommodated as best they can as long as it’s safe to be in the facility.

“We are excited about these improvements,” said Hart. “Our goal is to improve access for our visitors.” n