Museum

The Madison County Historical Society is renovating the building located to the left of the Criglersville Elementary School and plans to turn it into a museum.

Citizens have an opportunity to contribute to the new Criglersville museum by donating a window.

Last year, the Madison County Board of Supervisors approved an amended lease for the Madison County Historical Society to operate a museum in the two-story house to the left of the Criglersville Elementary School building. The original lease was signed in 2017, but allowed supervisors to terminate the agreement with six months advance notice in writing. The new lease, which is in place for five years with the opportunity for five year extensions, removes that language.

The change allows the historical society to continue investing in the building renovations without fear of the lease being terminated. The society has already cleaned the building, installed a new handicap ramp and removed carpet in the front room. The society has also serviced the two gas heaters in the building and installed a landline telephone. Up next are renovations to the bathroom and the installation of an incinerator toilet since there is not a working septic system or running water in the building.

Also on the mind of society members are new windows. Historical society president Max Lacy said the current windows are fragile and in need of replacing. The building has 15 windows of various sizes. To help finance the project, the historical society is offering naming rights for the replacements. For a tax-deductible donation of $400, the donor will have their name placed on a plaque in front of the window they helped replace. In addition to the actual window, the replacements will include an aluminum wrap to eliminate the need for painting.

Once the windows have been replaced, the society will begin work on installing artifacts. The museum will focus on items from the mountain area, especially the families displaced by the creation of Shenandoah National Park. There will also be a Criglersville room with pictures, artifacts and articles pertaining to the village and school.

Lacy said the society has plans to host a day of scanning, allowing people to bring in their photos, have them scanned for displaying in the museum and returned the same day. The society is also collecting other items for the museum. Anyone with items to donate is invited to call the historical society at (540) 395-5119 and leave a message.

Anyone wishing to make a donation for the windows should contact Max Lacy at maxlacy@vabb.com.

Lacy said the goal is to have the museum open by October.

Meanwhile, the future of the main Criglersville Elementary School building is still up in the air. Last week, supervisors rejected bids for the demolition of the two-story brick building. In November, supervisors opted to extend the bid deadline to Jan. 16. The decision to decline the bids comes nearly two months after Orange County businessman Kent Higginbotham spoke to board members about his desire to renovate the building. Higginbotham purchased and renovated the former Silk Mill in the Town of Orange in 1989. It has been home to numerous businesses and currently contains an event venue, a brewery, Subway, catering company Roadside Chive and the Silk Mill Grille restaurant among others.

The supervisors have not entered into a formal agreement with Higginbotham and are still discussing the matter.

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