By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Grafton – The public is invited to an official grand opening Saturday, Aug. 18, from noon to 4 p.m., at the relocated Grafton Historical Society Museum. Formerly located in the basement of the Town House at One Grafton Common, the museum is now at 71 Main St., the longtime vacant South Grafton Library.
In September 2017, the nonprofit organization became aware of a rent increase at the Town House from $700 a month to $2,600, noted Grafton Historical Society President Nancy Therrien.
“The rent increase was not sustainable for a nonprofit like us,” she explained. “The top amount we can pay for rent is just about $700 because we like to be an active society that puts on programs.”
A neighborhood pub is slated to occupy the Town House basement.
Therrien sent historical society members a letter, asking for suggestions of a space to relocate. Some members suggested the former South Grafton Library, which needed renovations and repairs to its flooded basement.
“A wet basement and historical society items don’t mesh at all,” Therrien noted. “The town was willing to work with us and give us a very reasonable lease. We’re paying a dollar a year. A long-term lease is now in the process for the near future.”
The Grafton Lions Club organized a fundraiser to pay about $10,000 of renovations and repairs. In addition to a leak into the basement, renovations included two coats of paint to cover discolored walls from the library bookshelves, and a long overdue floor replacement with a sublayer and carpet tiles.
The historical society moved its inventory this past April to the new museum location, where its First Friday Tea was held in April, May and June. An advantage of the historical society’s new location is a parking lot on the property.
Weather permitting, the upcoming grand opening will also feature outdoor activities. Vintage tools will be displayed on the museum’s front lawn and discussed by Ken Ethier, historian and board member of Waters Farm in Sutton.
A number of activities are also scheduled at the nearby Mill Villages Park, 61 Main St. The two-acre park opened in 2012. Among its highlights is the circa-1937 “little bank” building, originally located on Main Street in South Grafton and purchased by the historical society in 1967. A story walk around the park will be based on the children’s book “The Little House: The Big Move of the Little Grafton Savings Bank” written by historical society member Jane Nozzolillo.
Other activities scheduled in the park are viewings of vehicles from a vintage car club as well as the Massachusetts State Police Museum and Learning Center, and Nantucket-style basket weaving demonstrations by artisan Joanne Beller. Additionally, history buffs can try their luck at identifying several Grafton landmarks from a clue sheet.
“Having people appreciate and value the history of Grafton history is so important,” Therrien said. “History has an impact on everything that we do in life.”
For more information about the official grand opening, contact 508-839-0000 or [email protected].