The Bergen County Historical Society is looking to the day when it will be able to bring the past to life in a new state of the art museum, that will one day be located on the site of the Historic New Bridge Landing Park.
To that end the society is planning to undertake a fundraiser, with a goal of raising $350,000 to construct a museum building that will be a replica of an eighteenth century Dutch barn.
“The society has long planned to construct a museum and library building on this site… going back to the 1940s,” said Deborah Powell, museum chairperson and a past president of the Bergen County Historical Society. “And now we are going to try again.”
In a letter that will be sent to prospective donors, the structure would be built to, “visually complement the landmark stone houses (on the site) while providing a proper museum environment for thousands of irreplaceable artifacts and documents of our past.”
Powell said the museum, once it is built will be located just to the left of the Campbell Christie House and near the meadow.
“This structure will look old on the outside but be modern on the inside… we have gotten a preliminary quote of $350,000,” she said.
Powell added that an architect has offered to draw up plans of the structure on a pro-bono basis.
Kevin Wright, secretary of the Historic New Bridge Landing Park Commission said the design of the structure is being based on the now non-existent DeClerk Barn that once stood in Closter.
“We will be using drawings of the barn from the 1930s,” he said.
Powell said the museum would house not only the society’s collection. There would also be, she said, exhibit space, work space where collections can be put together, and storage areas.
“Right now more than half of our collection is in storage,” she said.
Historic New Bridge Landing Park Commissioner Michael Trepicchio said the commission supports the society’s plans to construct the museum.
“This is a great endeavor and will be critical to the society’s and commission’s mission,” he said.
Powell said last week that she was hopeful that the public would support the society’s mission to construct the museum.
“We are an all volunteer non-profit 501C3 organization, so every dollar that is donated goes to our mission,” she said.
Powell noted that Bergen County is the one of the only counties without a historical museum.
“It’s long overdue,” she said.