Timeline of the founding of Gibson Museum
As of August 15, 2013
In February, it became known that use of the Gibson Building had been offered to the Lake County Historical Society, which planned to utilize the building to replace a leased site in Nice currently used for storage. There was considerable disappointment in the community.
March 2: Two Middletown residents attended the meeting of the board of the Lake County Historical Society, and pointed out that years before the onset of her terminal illness, local resident Martha Webster, founder of the Middletown Historical Society, had “put dibs” on the Gibson Building for use as a museum of local history. LCHS proffered that if the Middletown group could be revived and would do the work, it would support the efforts even to the extent of underwriting ongoing utility costs.
March 20: Nina Bouska, scheduled to speak on local history at the Middletown Luncheon Club, submitted a questionnaire to assess the community’s preferences for the use of the Gibson Building. Equal votes went to historical museum and cultural center, with a handful for an arts center or a youth center. Fifteen persons volunteered to work on the project, others asked to be kept in touch.
April 20: The embryonic Gibson group was the first to meet in the Activities Room of the new Middletown Community Center. Voris Brumfield volunteered to be lead person in directing the efforts of this as-yet unnamed group toward a goal of establishing and operating a historical museum and/or community cultural center in the old library building.
April 24: Voris called an organizational meeting to develop an overview of the group's intentions. On learning that the Middletown Historical Society's nonprofit status had been allowed to elapse, it was agreed that it would be most efficient to start a new group. Gibson Museum and Cultural Center was selected as the name. Board members were appointed and the group agreed to meet every other week, on Wednesday afternoons. It was unanimously 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.
April 28: Voris presented Gibson's plan to the Lake County Historical Society board and membership at its general meeting. Revision was begun on the Memorandum of Understanding used as the agreement between LCHS and the County of Lake for the establishment of the Ely Stage Stop & Country Museum.
May 2: Voris met with District 1 Supervisor Jim Comstock to discuss the intent to establish a South County Museum and Cultural Center in the Gibson Building, for which he voiced strong support.
May 5: The group's recently established website, middletownhistory.com, was duplicated as cgibsonmuseum.com; both names will remain active as the site is regularly updated to reflect the activities of the Gibson group and present some of the local history that has been collected. The "c" honors Chauncey Gibson, original donor of the building, and became necessary because the gibsonmuseum domain name had been earlier claimed by Yuba County.
May 8: It was decided that several of the group should join the popular Middletown Days parade June 15 dressed as well-known characters or types who have played roles in local history.
May 15: A promotional video of the Gibson Building made by Voris was posted to You Tube: http://youtu.be/nXcYLxkg43U and well received.
May 18: The draft Memorandum of Understanding was sent to the LCHS Executive Board for review and discussion with Gibson representatives.
May 22: A video of an initial assessment of the building was shown to members and discussed. A considerable amount of "stuff" that belongs to the Friends of the Library and the Native Daughters of the Golden West, who ran the library before it was absorbed into the county system, remained in the building and will have to be removed. Voris had also initiated Gibson Museum & Cultural Center's debut on Facebook.
June 5: Voris and Nina met with LCHS board members to agree on changes to the MOU.
June 8: The Lake County Historical Society (LCHS) approved the Draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the County of Lake for the operation of Gibson Museum; Voris Brumfield was appointed liaison to LCHS on Gibson Museum issues. County work on insuring that the Gibson building meets code requirements had begun, with the news that three kinds of termites needed to be dealt with.
June 12: A formal meeting was supplanted by a "dress rehearsal" for the parade entry.
June 15: Middletown Days Parade entry by Gibson members garnered 2nd Place
July 15: Terminix did not show for the termite tenting as scheduled. Rescheduled for July 31.
June 16: An architectural review of the building brought up concerns about the possible need to meet the most recent standards for Handicap Accessibility, which could be prohibitively expensive. It was determined that because the building has been open to the public in its existing condition, and remains in continuous use, updating of accessibility is not required. We welcomed the Friends of the Middletown Library Book Sales at the Gibson Building as obvious continual use and moved our meeting venue to the Gibson building. The group voiced hope of being able to build an ADA-compliant external restroom in the future.
June 30: At the annual meeting of Lake County Historical Society, Voris Brumfield was elected to the Board to represent District 1.
July 16: The draft MOU was sent to Jeff Rein of County buildings management and, after minor changes, on to County Counsel Anita Grant for approval.
July 30: MOU was signed by County Counsel and the President of the Lake County Historical Society. It is to be presented to the County Board of Supervisors by Supervisor Jim Comstock.
July 31: Terminix did not show up as scheduled for tenting and termite extermination. Rescheduled for August 15.
August 2: Questions were raised about the County’s ability to provide maintenance resources to the Gibson. Further review of the MOU was requested.
August 8: Serious discussions of designing displays and preparing concerted fundraising efforts began. The meeting schedule was revised to the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month to allow attendance by interested members of the Ely committee whose meeting times were in conflict.
August 9: Nina Bouska met with Middletown Area Town Hall (MATH) members to solicit their support in developing the Gibson Museum and participation in Gibson’s projected “Revisit the ‘30s” community-wide gala celebration of the Museum’s grand opening May 3-4, 2014. The initial request was well received. She will make a detailed presentation at MATH’s September meeting.
The Middletown Area Merchants Association will also be offered a presentation in their newsletter as they will skip their September meeting. All other Middletown area organizations will be contacted to solicit support and participation.
August 15: Once again, Terminix did not show up as scheduled.