OWLS HEAD — On Thursday, Aug. 10, volunteers and friends of the Owls Head Transportation Museum were treated to the first look at a brand new, 20,000 sq ft workshop space on the museum's campus. The completion of the building is one of many planned construction projects which are part of the museum's 12.5 million capital campaign, Inspiring Tomorrow's Pioneers.
The newly built restoration shops are designed to accommodate expanding aircraft and auto collections and integrate space for a wood shop, machine shop, paint shop and volunteer instruction space. This part of the Museum creates opportunities for visitors and students to see the mechanical arts of the restoration process, as part of its volunteer program.
Ten thousand square feet were added to an existing hangar for a total of 20,000 sq. ft. of integrated restoration workshops. An attached 3,000 sq. ft. addition houses a woodworking shop, paint shop, spray booth, fabrication shop, metalworking and welding shops, plus a volunteer break room and offices.
A safe viewing area within the new building visually connects students and visitors to the restoration process as part of their museum experience.
"We started in 2015 with this concept of improving the museum,” said Lawrence "Bud" Woodworth, who is the Chairman of the Capital Campaign Committee and one of the museum's trustees. “We went out for a contest for architects to come up with ideas for what we should look like 40 years from now. Stephen Smith won, he had what I consider and the board considered the most ingenious designs. From 2015 we had to decide how we were going to raise the money and how we're going to operate once we get everything going. About a year and a half ago we put the project out to bid and Maine Coast Construction won."
The Capital Campaign website states: "For the past 45 years, the Museum’s extensive collections of historic aircraft, automobiles, bicycles, carriages, and engines have been maintained in increasingly crowded workshop buildings. By doubling the size of restoration facilities, the Museum will expand volunteer education and enable visitors to get a first hand look at Maine’s tradition of mechanical arts."
Earlier in the evening, guests enjoyed vintage car rides and refreshments in the museum's main display, where educators demonstrated the new Family STEM Center – a year-round area where children can learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The most significant expansion of the Museum’s education programs will focus on developing a professionally led program for kindergarten through eighth grade students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). From the Museum’s collection, examples of different eras of energy used to power transportation will enable students to connect STEM concepts to working history, including transitions from horse to steam to fossil fuels and now to solar and wind energy systems.
Other planned expansions include flexible education spaces, outdoor event pavilion and courtyard, diamond portal with views of the runway, space frame entrance.
"7.5 million has been raised in gifts and pledges. I have to shout out our board, taking a leadership example and raising $3 million of that,” said museum executive director John Bottero. “We have 5 million left to go in order to get this project done by our opening for our 50th anniversary."
Floorplans of the building and the new facilities being built can be viewed on the capital campaign website: https://www.ohtmcampaign.org/