The Will Rogers Memorial Museums announced today that they would be receiving $930,000 from the Oklahoma Long-Range Capital Planning Commission to overhaul the heat and air system throughout the Claremore Museum
“This is a monumental announcement,” said Phil Albert, Chairman of the Will Rogers Memorial Commission. “To be able to completely fix the HVAC system will ensure the preservation of the Memorial for decades to come.”
Last year, William Lull, nationally known preservationist, examined the museum and made suggestions. When he saw the HVAC controls in the basement he said, “this wasn’t 20th century technology or even 19th century technology. This was 18th century technology.”
The Will Rogers Memorial Museum was built in 1938 after the Oklahoma Legislature appropriated funds to preserve the memory of Oklahoma’s favorite son, Will Rogers. The current heating and air control system is the same one that was in place since the beginning.
“We are grateful that the state of Oklahoma recognized the importance of the Memorial’s HVAC system for the long term viability of this wonderful state asset,” said Tad Jones, executive director of the Museum. “The Will Rogers Memorial Museum has helped bring millions of people to Oklahoma and we thank the legislature for funding this program.”
The Long Range Capital Planning Commission was created by the Oklahoma legislature to help prioritize infrastructure needs throughout the state. The Will Rogers Memorial HVAC system was deemed the 2nd most important project for the state.
State Sen. Marty Quinn of Claremore said, “It is great to finally see the long-term funding for the improvements to our Will Rogers Memorial become a reality. Important projects like this are possible because of the Long Range Planning Commission, which was formed by the legislature just a few years ago.
“I personally want to thank Executive Director Tad Jones, Rep. Earl Sears, Rep. Mark Lepak and many other legislators for having the vision to see this funding through the process,” he said.
“I am especially pleased and grateful that, in a very difficult budget year, the Long Range Capital Planning Commission made the Will Rogers Memorial and Museum one of its top priorities this year,” Lepak said. “The project meets a critical need, and with its completion, will protect a priceless collection for decades.”
“Having a new HVAC system will allow us to circulate cleaner air throughout the Memorial and better control humidity, which will in turn protect the collection,” said Jennifer Holt, museum curator. “A new HVAC system will also allow us to have more traveling exhibits as our facility will better meet museum standards.”
The process for the upgrade will begin July 1, 2015 and it will take about a year to complete.