THREE OAKS — Ground was broken on May 19 for an expansion of the Region of Three Oaks Museum to provide 1,440 square feet of much-needed storage space.

“For the last several years we’ve been bumping up against limits on our storage space,” said Museum Board member Nick Bogert.

Judy Jackson of the museum board said many local historical items went to the Michigan State University Museum in the early 1950s, and a lot of the less desirable items were returned and displayed in Three Oaks.

“We still have that good rapport with Michigan State University Museum, and a month or so ago we went for another visit, and we were offered some very large items,” she said. “A small sleigh … a very large mirror which will hang at the Heritage Hall … We also have a hearse carriage that has carved wood curtains … and we have a carriage with gas lamps that’s absolutely beautiful.”

The storage addition will proved a place for such items to be kept in Three Oaks.

Bogert said there also are items on third floor of the nearby Three Oaks Township Library.

“We need people to come here to the museum,” said Museum Board member Kim Weber. “So we’re going to be calling on all the residents, all the volunteers to try to encourage their family members their neighbors, friends to come and pay a visit here and kind of relive some of the memories that Three Oaks has.”

Bogert said the ongoing “Three Oaks Against the World” capital campaign has raised nearly $90,000 towards the a $104,000 project cost as of May 19.

‘The Pokagon Fund recognizes what a significant cultural and historical asset the museum is to the community,” said Executive Director Dan Petersen.

Lisa Cripps Downey of the Berrien Community Foundation noted that the museum is an all-volunteer effort that helps keep the past alive to inform our future.

Both The Pokagon Fund and the Berrien Community Foundation provided grants for the project.

Three Oaks Village Manager Dan Faulkner said Three Oaks is fortunate to have a museum to call its own.

“We’re glad to be a part of it.”

Bogert introduced other board members and thanked former member Viki Gudas for writing grant proposals. He also thanked Bev and Jerry Kohn of Corvette Central for offering to help get large items moved from East Lansing to Three Oaks.

He also thanked Kevin Harrington for restoring old negatives and prints before donating them to the museum.

Bogert produced Ron Oatsvall (and his sons Ray and Dylan) of Oatsvall Construction (which built the existing museum structure).

“We’re talking probably about a 60-day timetable,” he added.

Three Oaks native Art Klute said he was able to find a quality, flexible shelving system for the new addition that rolls on a track that will be donated and installed professionally.

The Museum, open from noon to 5 p.m, Friday through Sunday, is located at 5 Featherbone Ave. For more go to www.regionofthree

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