Plans for the Rome Area History Museum were detailed Wednesday for the Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism board during a meeting in the museum’s special events space.
The tourism office took over operations of the museum Jan. 1. Executive Director Lisa Smith said the initial process of cleaning the museum, which sustained basement flooding issues last year, “was a monumental process.”
Smith explained that the budget for the history museum will function separately from the general tourism budget. The nonprofit 501(c)3 entity that has funded the museum for the past couple of decades will continue to exist and be responsible for programming expenses. The city and tourism office will take care of staffing and maintenance.
Repairing the leaky roof and replacing electrical systems are the priority issues right now.
“That should do a lot for energy savings,” Smith said.
She told the tourism board that the museum may have to close for a brief period to facilitate some of that work. But, for the most part, the museum would have regular hours — staffed by Johnette Chambers and Selena Tilly with assistance from volunteers.
Once the electrical system is reworked, plans are to take on lighting and audio-visual improvements in the second floor special events space. Lighting and technology upgrades to the first floor exhibit space will also be a priority.
Work on the archives room and a new reading room will be next on the list for Smith as she attempts to make the museum a more functional facility for Romans as well as visitors to the city.
The tourism board also heard from Rome Sports Commission Director Ann Hortman, who said there would be numerous volunteer opportunities for a couple of major tennis tournaments in March and April.
The International Tennis Federation Wheelchair tournament will be played at the Rome Tennis Center March 9-15, followed by the Atlantic Coast Conference collegiate championships April 13-20.
The tourism board also recognized Terrell Shaw, Bob Harris and Mary Elena Kirk of the Ridge and Valley Storytelling Guild and volunteer Mark Van Leuven for their work during the Haunted on Broad event in October. The Historic High Country (Northwest Georgia) Travel Association selected it as its 2019 event of the year.
Kirk also said the event would not have happened without Tilly, an historian who put together facts for the storytellers and volunteers to interpret for visitors.