What was once the Pleasant DeSpain Sr. Schoolhouse at 7200 Lowell Blvd., has now been transformed into the Westminster History Center. And after weeks of planning, organizing and gathering historical documents, the center is opening to the public.
The community is invited to a grand opening event, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, to explore the city’s historical past through tours of the center, oral storytelling and the first of many exhibits to come called Going to School in Westminster.
“We hope people come see the newest addition to the city,” said Amy Newman, director of the Westminster History Center. “There will be refreshments and opportunities to ask questions and speak with historical society members.”
The Westminster History Center will be a place for safe keeping for the many historical documents, photos, maps, books and newspapers from the city’s past. According to Newman, before the center, the Westminster Historical Society didn’t have a place to keep records that could be fully accessible to the public and be used in an educational way. Now the society has a visible building that also happens to be on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We want this center to be utilized by not only residents, but also for teachers and schools in the area,” she said. “Students can come here and actually see and touch history.”
Westminster councilman Bob Briggs is also excited about the opportunity for a former Adams County School District 50 building to be used as a place for historical education.
“I hope this building is just the first of many other historical District 50 buildings that would make excellent museums,” he said.
Although the center is filling up with historical records, Newman encourages people to bring in their old documents to add to the collection. She said the records will be stored in a room with controlled light, temperature and humidity for preservation.
“Visitors will have access to PastPerfect software, which is how we manager our collection of archives,” Newman said. “There will be computer stations where people can look in the database and find any objects related to their search, whether it’s photos, maps or records.”
The center will also have a large classroom to be used for community events and educational programs, a receptionist and reading and study areas. After the grand opening, the Westminster History Center will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursday and by appointment.