The Mathews Maritime Foundation’s Maritime Museum has outgrown its headquarters, and is expanding to use more of its available space.
Volunteers at the museum—located in the structure that formerly housed the Mathews County School Board and Virginia Cooperative Extension offices—are in the process of tearing down walls and renovating to allow for more exhibit space and to have a room to host the foundation’s annual maritime speaker series.
According to MMF spokesperson Nancy Lindgren, the museum has occupied half of the building since 2006. It was granted a lease by Mathews County last fall to occupy the other half.
"We started by re-roofing the entire building," Lindgren said. MMF volunteer Michael Swiderski donated his time and labor, while many of the materials and labor for clean-up were provided by MMF members.
Another MMF member, Jack Caldwell, is using his architectural skills in the design of the building/renovation, Lindgren said.
Other volunteers, including Buck Mathews, Hank Furniss, Paul Vanden Bout, Dennis Gryder, Dave Mortimer, Dennis Crawford, Dave Machen, Marcy Benouameur and Lindgren have been giving time each Sunday morning to the project.
"We’re recycling as much as possible, trying to save money and the environment," Lindgren said. "We’ve been pulling nails out of wood one by one."
She said the foundation signed a 10-year lease with the county and the group hopes to remain in the building beyond that time. "It’s a huge project," she said. "And the county is happy to see improvements."
The new area will feature wardrobe-style display cases and will be handicapped accessible, Lindgren added.
It is best to set up an appointment to ensure someone is available at the museum, Lindgren said. Hours generally throughout the summer are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
For more information on the foundation or its museum, visit www.mathewsmaritime.com.