(Submitted by Wood County Historical Center & Museum)
The Wood County Historical Center & Museum is pleased to offer elevator access throughout the museum as the Accessibility Project comes to a close. The museum opened as the Wood County Infirmary in 1869, and while it has been maintained, has not received a modern update of this magnitude until this time.
The Accessibility Project included not only a service-grade elevator that opens from both the exterior as well as the interior of the building, but also four new handicap accessible restrooms, handicap parking, and bus access from County Home Road. The improvements will benefit visitors with mobility conflicts or strollers, group tours, and provide a safer way to move large and heavy Society artifacts.
The first elevator ride was honored to Felicia Konrad, who is a life member of the Historical Society, Accessibility Donor, and has a family legacy to Edwin Farmer, Infirmary Superintendent from 1878-1904. During Edwin’s tenure, his son was admitted to the Infirmary when he became confined to a wheelchair, and could not even share a room with his wife because her room was on the second floor. The story of Alfred and Amy Farmer is chronicled on the museum’s website at woodcountyhistory.org.
The physical limitations reached their peak in the 1960s when the building was slated for closure in lieu of a new nursing home (Wood Haven). Since becoming a museum in 1975, studies and feedback from members and visitors put accessibility as one of the site’s biggest challenges.
To support the $1.2 million project, the Historical Center was awarded $600,000 from the State of Ohio’s capital funds as well as support from Wood County Commissioners Jim Carter, Doris Herringshaw, and Joel Kuhlman, State Senator Randy Gardner, State Representative Tim Brown, Hancock Wood Electric Community Trust Fund, CSX Community Grant, and generous donations from community supporters.
The Collaborative, Inc. was the architectural firm on the project and Focht Construction Company served as the contractor.
The museum will re-open to the public on Feb. 1, 2017, with new exhibits to highlight the impact of World War I on Wood County. All events detailed at www.woodcountyhistory.org. The museum is located at 13660 County Home Road in Bowling Green.