By Linda Dillman
A growing collection of artifacts will have a new home next year on the second floor in a wing of the Canal Winchester Schools District Education Center located above the National Barber Museum.
On March 21, the Canal Winchester Board of Education and the Canal Winchester Area Historical Society entered into a 10-year agreement to lease the space for $1 a year plus utility costs.
Canal Winchester Schools Superintendent James Sotlar said there was already an agreement in place for the Barber Museum for the lower level in a west wing of the education center.
“Now they’re going to take six rooms above,” said Sotlar. “So, we’re tying all that into one lease agreement for 10 years. The utilities are $600 a month (total) for both levels. This puts the historical society now in that one wing, all under one, so it’s a one-stop shop for the Barber Museum and then they can go up to the historical society.”
While costs are yet to be determined for the approximately 5,556 square-foot space, Triad Architecture was hired to provide mechanical drawings similar to work done on the barber museum.
In addition to the renovation, the historical society is also assuming financial responsibility for moving classrooms into another part of the building. Demolition and repurposing the space is expected to take more than a year.
“The CWAHS has and continues to accumulate Canal Winchester historical artifacts and needs a permanent location to allow visitors to learn the early history of the city and how it has evolved over the last 200 years,” said CWAHS President Bruna Brundige. “Our mission statement is to collect, preserve, maintain, promote, educate, and inventory historical records, data, real and personal property that might be acquired by the society. Canal Winchester Local Schools and the board have been great partners with CWAHS and continue to work us this and many other projects.”
Currently, historical artifacts are on display at the Prentiss School House and the Queen of the Line Train Station, located at the corner of North High and Oak streets in Canal Winchester.
“The National Barber Museum Hall of Fame is located on the first floor (in the education center wing), so we thought it would be a perfect location to establish both museums in the same space,” said Brundige. “Canal Winchester schools will be able to take all age groups on tours of both museums and learn the history as well as the complex in the same day.”
Organizers Bob Wood and Steve Donahue briefed the board on plans to convert the classrooms into a museum convenient for school field trips and a home for artifacts stored elsewhere.
“Five to six people in Canal Winchester have been collecting Canal Winchester memorabilia going back to the 1800s,” said Donahue, “and we’ve ben acquiring that inventory and storing it off site in Pickerington. We look forward to this opportunity. We think it’ll take eight to 12 months to get where we need to be to move things into it. I think we’re going to have a great story to tell.”
Canal Winchester Board of Education President Kevin Butler said having the historical and Barber Museums so close to the schools will be a good opportunity for students to have a local resource that is within walking distance.
The National Barber Museum in Canal Winchester is located at 135 Franklin St. (behind the former Canal Winchester High School building at 100 Washington St.). The museum, housed in approximately 5,000 square feet, showcases art, artifacts, and memorabilia from decades of the barbering profession.