Five years after leaving The Arsenal, the Beaufort History Museum collection is returning to the historic building at the corner of Craven and Carteret streets.
City public-works employees and museum volunteers took care of the heavy lifting this week, moving artifacts from City Hall at 1911 Boundary St., where the museum has been for two years.
The museum will create a temporary display on the second floor until a more permanent exhibit can be created, board president Anna Schaffer said. Brockington and Associates, a cultural-resources consulting company, has been contracted to create the long-term display of artifacts, she said.
A new air-conditioning system has been installed, which Schaffer believes should prevent problems that caused a number of artifacts to deteriorate when they were previously at The Arsenal.
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"We are comfortable that we can now manage temperature levels and the humidity to safely house the artifacts," she said.
The building is owned by the city, which leases it to the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce for $1 a year for a 99-year period. The museum has signed a $1-a-year lease for five years, with an option to extend another five. The chamber and museum will split utility costs.
A small elevator needed to meet federal disabilities requirements will be installed later this year.
The chamber has been using the second-story main hall for meetings and events, but has other space in the building it can use for such gatherings, chamber president and CEO Blakely Williams said.
It's a welcomed addition to the city's official visitor center, one that Williams hopes will attract tourists and locals.
"We're going to send people right upstairs and let them experience the story of Beaufort," Williams said.
A grand opening for the museum is planned sometime around Labor Day, Schaffer said.
"We are physically moving now, so we are going to take the next month of August to get all our staffing up to where it was before we moved," Schaffer said.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.
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