Lacey City Hall

Lacey city officials and staff offer information on the new museum project


LACEY –– The Lacey City Council members and staff discussed the construction of the Lacey Museum & Civic Center, an enhancement of the Lacey Museum that has been a part of the community for more than 40 years. 

The long-term goal of the city of expanding the museum has been in development for nearly a decade and aims to be a center for the community and a place to educate visitors about Lacey’s history and culture. As the current building does not provide sufficient space for a regular-sized school group on a field trip, the new building project would “provide opportunities for new and repeat visitations.” 

“We created a history internship a year and half ago, and we will sustain and continue in the future,” said Jeff Crane, an official with Saint Martin’s University. “The department is looking to develop some public history courses about museum management and historical preservation, creating exhibits and generating public understanding for the history.”

The museum will be an east anchor of the city’s new Depot District, which is close to Saint Martin’s University. Those involved with the project hope the museum campus will provide vitality to the Depot District with a train-themed playground, picnic tables, and restrooms. The museum campus will further contribute to a space for families, students, and the community to gather and has the additional benefits of walkability and connectivity. 

City officials are currently finishing Phase 1 and started Phase 2 of five phases for the project. Phase 1 consisted of the Lebanon Street extension, installation of 20 parking stalls, the depot structure, and the train-themed playground. Installation of the playground in Fall 2020 will mark the completion of Phase 1. 

Phase 2 is underway with the new museum and site design by KMB Architects. Phase 3 would prepare the site for construction. Phases 4 and 5 will consist of parts one and two of the museum and civic building. The new museum’s current schematic design includes larger gallery spaces for core and changing exhibits providing education through interactive displays. 

There will be a research room, providing researchers easy access to vast museum archival resources, including the extensive 80,000 image collection and the recently acquired Olympia Genealogical Society collection. The collection storage room would double the current capacity, allowing for better stewardship of collections with room for growth. Indoor and outdoor event spaces including a classroom will provide a place to offer heritage-related programming and public events. 

The native plants and rain gardens will provide additional opportunities for heritage education. Fundraising for the proposed museum will be a challenge, as the project still needs $13.6 million of fundraising. 

“The city staff will continue to follow the two-year heritage project plan grant cycle and utilize any available match,” said Jen Burbidge, the city’s parks and recreation director. 

“Some other options include seeking out legacy donations, support from foundations, and looking to the [Washington] Department of Commerce for opportunities for capital appropriation and help from a fundraising campaign consultant.” 

Further expenses are expected to come in through donations and grants.

Burbidge also talked brass tax. Approximately 50 percent of the funds come from state or federal grants, which would be about $6.8 million of the total. Approximately 25 percent is from community organizations and businesses, and private foundations and individual donations contribute 20 percent ––  about $2.8 million. Other grants would make up five percent, which is $68,000.

Lacey City Hall, Lacey City Council, Lacey Museum & Civic Center Project, KMB Architects


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