Industrial History Center
at Mill 2
The Amesbury Carriage Museum (ACM) will establish and build out its first physical location since its start in 1985. Greg Jardis, a successful Amesbury businessman and owner of Amesbury Industrial Supply (AIS), has donated space to the museum in his historic 1826 mill building in the city’s upper mill yard. The space will be the home of an industrial history and discovery center that will celebrate the rich history and tell the many stories of industry and work life in Amesbury – past, present and future.
The space, valued at $250,000, provides approximately 2,500 square feet that will be fitted out with areas for a full range of programming, including exhibit galleries, event space, reference and work area for school students, volunteers, visitors and staff. The Center will engage residents, students and visitors in exploring Amesbury’s industrial stories. “Amesbury has known many makers, innovators and workers – some from families that go back generations – and it’s important to honor the history of this town and the surrounding communities,” Jardis said.
The accessible, ground level space located in downtown Amesbury will be “transformative” for the museum, says John Mayer, Executive Director, stimulating the addition of creative interactive programs, initiatives and services. “This mill yard location is a perfect home from which to tell the personal stories that start here.” The space will open onto a plaza that will lead directly into the mill yard to physically connect visitors to Amesbury’s industrial past.
Administrative office space
In addition, Jay Gould, another successful businessman and co-founder of the Flatbread Company, has given ACM office space, including a conference/resource room, next to Flatbread Pizza, also in the upper mill yard. Having administrative space (with annual value of $8,400) enables ACM to have “back room” offices next door and dedicate the center primarily to community programming and exhibit space.
Space design and build-out plans
The center is being designed by Merrimac Design Architects of Exeter, NH. Visitors will enter through a vestibule with a welcoming wall designed to recognize supporters of the museum and center. Once inside, an information desk will serve as a work station and place to welcome guests. Behind the counter will be office space for staff.
A large flexible gallery will be equipped with movable walls for changing exhibits. By moving the gallery walls, the area can be configured with seating for up to 80 or more people with chairs or work tables for school and community programs and events. The space also could be used and rented out to other organizations. A permanent gallery will feature an exhibit interpreting Amesbury’s industrial history that will serve as general orientation for school programs and visitors.
Double doors from the program gallery will open onto the mill yard plaza with the amphitheater, allowing the center to host a variety of public events and programs. A history laboratory and workspace will be available for volunteers and community groups to hold workshops and develop exhibits and programs. Bathrooms, storage areas and utility rooms will support center activities. Naming opportunities for these spaces are available to donors.
Capital campaign and projected costs
ACM is launching a capital campaign to raise at least $500,000 to develop and equip the facility. Beyond the capital expenses, ACM is looking to raise funds to support the museum’s ongoing operating needs. Estimates for the build-out of the facility and the plaza are being developed. Based on the 2015-16 feasibility study completed for the Amesbury Carriage Alliance, the ACM board is confident the community will support the project.