The Ravalli County Museum houses many old artifacts. In fact, the building itself could be considered an old artifact. Over 120 years ago, it was the county courthouse and became the museum when the current courthouse was built next door. The years have taken their toll on the brick building. Monday, the Ravalli County Commissioners received an update on improvement projects that are in the museum's future.

The wiring in the building is what concerns the officials most of all. An electrical problem in the Lewis and Clark Gallery needs to be repaired, along with safety work on much of the first floor wiring. Elsewhere, pipes leading to and from the boiler that heats the building require some attention, too. The boiler, itself, is in good condition. The list about about 20 items include both safety issues and cosmetic issues. Of course, as Museum Director Tamar Stanley told KLYQ, the safety issues have priority and the commissioners will work in coordination with the Bitterroot Valley Historical Society, as they have in the past.

The roof and cupola were recently repaired with state funding help, but future "brick and mortar" work on aging windows and exterior brick will most likely require more extensive repair. Added to that, the outside appearance must be done within National Historic Building guidelines, according to Stanley. Interior wall plaster repair will be another priority. She said the Bitterroot Historical Society will be applying for grants and is encouraging local funding to help.

Another change that will happen in the spring is new signage outside the building at South 3rd and Bedford. The design was approved and the installation will be done following the winter months.

The museum is closed to the public currently, except for Saturdays, which is the day when a popular weekly kids' activity session happens. Stanley said the regular operating hours will return in the early spring - probably in March or April.

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