The New Building

Building History

 By the time of the AIHS 25th anniversary in 2000, it was widely recognized that something better than unheated and minimally secure out-buildings was needed to house and protect the Society’s fragile and irreplaceable collection of artifacts and documents. A steering committee was formed and doggedly worked its way through a procession of architects and the maze of County Building, Fire Code and Energy requirements to the point where, in January of 2017, a new 4900 SF facility is ready for its final inspection.

The Archival Building is itself a monument to the culture of Anderson Island, where most progress comes as a result of the contributions of volunteers. More than 12,000 hours of donated, mostly highly-skilled, labor have gone into its construction, besides a comparable amount of planning, fund-raising, and management. Given the iconic status of Johnson Farm, with its majestic chicken houses and charming collection of wooden structures, it is only natural that high priority was given to the aesthetics of the new building - how it would resonate with the other buildings and not do harm to the ambiance of the museum. At the same time, low-maintenance, security, and fire-proofing were firm requirements that guided the project from the start.

The resulting structure, conceived to emulate the ship-lap construction and proportions of the farm’s two major poultry houses, has met with the approval of the community and the museum members. The fire-proof and maintenance-free structural concrete walls of the new building are clad, on the outside, with cement fiber planks which echo the exterior of the existing buildings, with windows and doors trimmed with modern weathered boards provided by Harvest Timber Company. The inside walls are finished with hand-applied plaster and weathered paneling and trim from Harvest Timber. The result is a warm, inviting interior, softened by controlled lighting and the authentic-looking weathered boards. The Archival Building includes a central 2700 SF hall for exhibitions and events, plus a library, office, controlled environment storage room and restrooms.

Construction Photos

These photos (by John Larsen) capture the new Archival Storage Facility as it grows from an empty field to an almost completed building.

May - June 2015: Site Preparation

June 2015: Foundation

July 2015: Floor

September 2015: Concrete Walls

October 2015 - February 2016: Roof

February - March 2016: Outer Walls

March - May 2016: Siding

May 2016 - March 2017: Landscaping

April 2016 - September 2016: Interior Framing, Plumbing, Electrical

May 2016 - January 2017: Interior Finishing

January 2017: First Event (Art Show)