About Gibson Museum & Cultural Center
In the Spring of 2013, as Middletown's Gibson Library prepared to move into its handsome new quarters in the new Community Center across the street, local residents became concerned about the future use of the small building the library had occupied.
Middletown residents knew that years before Martha Webster, founder of the Middletown Historical Society, had “put dibs” on the Gibson Building for use as a museum of local history.
At the March meeting of the Middletown Luncheon Club a questionnaire returned equal votes for historical museum and for an arts center, thus the project became a museum and cultural center. Fifteen persons volunteered to work on the project,
The Gibson group first met in April. Voris Brumfield volunteered to be lead person. On learning that the Middletown Historical Society's nonprofit status had been allowed to elapse, it was agreed that the Gibson group could most efficiently operate as a project of the Lake County Historical Society, thus insuring immediate nonprofit status, by-laws, and liability coverage.
Since April, after lengthy negotiation, formal agreements with the Historical Society and with the County of Lake, which owns the building, have been forged.
In May the website, middletownhistory.com, was duplicated as cgibsonmuseum.com; both names will remain active. The "c" honors Chauncey Gibson, original donor of the building, and became necessary because the gibsonmuseum domain name had been claimed by Yuba County.
In June, Gibson won second place in the popular Middletown Days parade with several members dressed as well-known characters from our local history.
Lake County will extend use of the building rent-free for use as a museum, and will be responsible for maintaining the integrity of the structure. The Gibson group, acting as a committee of the Lake County Historical Society, will be responsible for day-to-day maintenance, renovation of the interior to make it suitable for our use, and expenses for utilities.
Creation of the museum, and its operation, will be supported solely by donations of time, labor, money and historical artifacts.
Much has been accomplished by the group's volunteers. Donations of cash and artifacts are starting to come in. Numerous digitized photos and considerable historical information have been offered; much of this currently available on this website.
Fund-raising efforts are escalating. Concepts and designs for displays are being formulated, and materials collected for creating them. Care of the landscaping has been renewed by the Hidden Valley Lake Garden Club. Promotional materials are being prepared. Plans are being laid for a grand opening celebration next May.
As of November 1, volunteers are at work clearing the leftover belongings of previous tenants and the built-in library shelving and will soon begin repairing and painting the interior walls.