Renovations continue on Salem Historical Society Museum building
By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
Salem - posted Mon., Sep. 19, 2011
“I’m not a carpenter, but…” said Deanna St. Jean, longtime curator of the Salem Historical Society, as she talked about the renovations which have been ongoing at the museum – renovations that started when St. Jean noticed the sagging roof on the 262-year-old building. In order to quell concerns that the roof could collapse, destroy the many artifacts housed in the building, and possibly injure someone, the museum has been closed all summer for repairs, which, in addition to the roof, include new paint, and repairing some windows and rotting columns in the front of the building.
Even though the roof is now completed, the museum, which normally closes in October, will not reopen this year, although St. Jean occasionally brings out certain displays for special meetings, like a recent discussion which she led on Salem’s Civil War participants. “This is the first year that I have not had the museum open. In 35 years, this is the first year that I didn’t put everything out,” said St. Jean.
Built as a church in Norwich in 1749, the building was moved to Salem in 1831 and eventually sold to the town, where it was used as the town meeting hall for many years. Still owned by the town, the building is rented by the Salem Historical Society for $1 per year, and they contributed significantly to the repair costs.