Livingston County Museum Celebrates renovations

From the Livingston County News

GENESEO – With a giant pair of scissors historical leaders, local officials, and staff helped to celebrate renovations made at the Livingston County Museum, 30 Center St.

“Phase one created universal accessibility into the museum. So you see a ramp, we can now be accessible to people in wheelchairs and walkers,” said Museum Administrator Anna Kowalchuk.

Also added was ADA compliant restrooms

The final phase of the project was improving the airflow at the museum.

“We also created a heating and air conditioning ventilation system,” said Kowalchuk.

It is an upgrade that Kowalchuk said will benefit everyone.

“It is not only important to our visitors but also important to our artifacts to help preserve them long term,” said Kowalchuk.

The cost for the phase 1 project was about $350,000 with some of it coming from the New York State Council on the Arts and $50,000 being donated by American Rock Salt.

“We are just really pleased to see that they have a portion of the museum dedicated to the history of salt mining in the Genesee Valley,” said Joe Bucci Jr.

The museum celebrates and honors those who helped pave the way for future generations.

“History is so important,” said Livingston County Chairman David LeFeber.

Following the ribbon-cutting people attending the event got a chance to tour the museum, which some acknowledge does not have the best layout.

“Right now when you get to the end of the museum you turn around and go back to the front,” said Kowalchuk.

It is like that, in part, because before being a museum the building was an old school house.

“Historically this building was a school house, it was not designed as a museum. If you were going to design a museum from the ground up you would design it as a museum and not as a school house. We are taking what was once a school house and then kind of refitting all of that,” said Kowalchuk.

Improving the museum’s traffic flow is something that the museum hopes to accomplish in its Phase 2 project.

“Phase 2, we are in the beginning of planning for, will meet some of our larger goals like lack of storage and poor exhibit space and environmental control. The plan is to remove part of the non historic part of the building and build a proper storage room,” said Kowalchuk.

Having that proper storage, Kowalchuk said, is a key development for the museum.

“Most museums have only a fraction of their objects on display and then the rest of them are in storage and they can change up those stories. So without a proper storage room lots of things are piled away or tucked away,” said Kowalchuk.

“Once we can create a proper storage room it is only going to enhance our abilities to tell stories and change the stories for the history of Livingston County,” said Kowalchuk.

The cost for the Phase 2 project will be about $900,000. Project details are still being worked out.

“The next phase we are looking to get some grant support from the National Endowment for Humanities. We would like to look at the Institute for Museum and Library Services. We will look any place we can to seek out funding,” said Kowalchuk.

As the funding details get looked into, museum officials said they are excited to have one project complete, and another one is in the works.

“Bringing the museum into the 21st century and preserving the history and integrity of the building, was the goal of this project,” said Livingston County Historical Society President Susan Conklin

The extraction process begins with undercutting the mine walls level with the floor. A self-propelled undercutter carves a massive channel at the base of the deposit and across the entire room. This channel allows for a more efficient explosive blast and also helps create a smooth mine floor.
Once the mine wall is undercut a special drilling machine bores small holes into the face of the salt. Then miners will prime these holes with explosive materials and prepare to start blasting.
Miners ignite the explosives, creating a blast that dislodges 800 to 900 tons of rock salt in less than three seconds. The depth of the mine and cushion of the overburden absorbs the blast vibrations, preventing any surface damage to immediate and surrounding areas.
Huge front-end loaders transport the blasted rock salt to the primary crusher. Loaders dump their loads of salt into a powerful spinning crusher, where large pieces are quickly crushed and screened down to small pieces. The salt is then transported to the hoisting shaft where skip hoists bring the loads to the surface in a matter of seconds.
Upon reaching the surface, the salt is stored here at the mine in our huge stockpile where it is loaded and sent out to customers by rail car or by truck.
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