On Tuesday Amy Kirby President of the New Britain Historical Society and Tom Dickau President of the Bristol Historical Society met at Bristol’s Summer Street location. The two discussed the importance of collaboration between museums and other societies.
Tom stressed the importance of moving their message outside of the Greater Bristol community. The Bristol Historical Society has three museums at the Summer St. location each museum is a separate entity independent with its own board of directors. The Sports Hall of Fame, Memorial Military Museum and Historical Society all work together. Besides the Museums within the Historical Society they also collaborate with the American Clock Museum, Barnes and Indian Rock Nature Preserves, Imagination Museum, New England Carousel Museum and also provide activities for the Bristol Public Library and the Bristol Public Schools.
The New Britain Historical Society currently doesn’t have a home for their artifacts, meetings and fundraisers. They have been trying to raise money to purchase the Hatch building on Washington Street in downtown New Britain. The building needs extensive repairs including a new roof. Kirby said recently “The New Britain Council made a decision to raise the price to $40,000. She said the original asking price was $20,000 and the Society will not be able to raise that amount to purchase the building”.
Besides the purchase price, both Presidents came to an agreement that they share a parallel story. In Bristol The Historical Society was given their Summer Street location for $1 by the City. However, the building was in horrible shape and vandalized. Dickau said “it was a money pit”. They did extensive repairs when they took over the former School and are continuing to make repairs to the building. Dickau went on to discuss with Kirby the same hurdles they had to go through to get the former Bristol High School building.
Their next project is to place a new roof on the building and restore its second floor. Dickau also said he hopes the City will also waive the permit fees as they recently did for The Bristol Boys & Girls Club. “We want the same” said Dickau.
Due to the fact that The New Britain Historical Society doesn’t have a home to call its own. Dickau said he’s open to discussing New Britain holding meetings, fundraisers and possibly more at The Bristol Historical Society.
Ellen Zoppo-Sassu who is active in both New Britain and Bristol said.
After knowledge of the possible collaboration among the two Historical Societies, spokesperson for the New Britain Mayor’s office Fernando Marroquin said.
Marroquin went on to say “The City has the property out to bid and they do not approve an offer solely based on the price. We take many factors into consideration for the betterment of the City. If the New Britain Historical Society offered $1.00 for the Hatch property and had proper financing we would consider it”.
In the coming weeks both Societies will discuss future relations and collaboration with each other.