Known for its large collection of photos and documents of Arizona history, the 90-year-old Sharlot Hall Museum is getting an upgrade.
In January, expansion will begin on the Prescott museum and will include a new education center.
“We needed a larger space,” museum executive director Fred Veil said.
While the museum currently has a 50-person theater and a 70-person gallery, people are often turned away from different programs due to capacity limits.
The newly-added education facility will include an auditorium that provides theater-style seating for 135 people. Also included will be a multi-purpose room for hosting functions, along with 3,500 additional square feet for storage.
“We can consolidate everything to there, have a larger auditorium to be able to put on larger presentations, particularly as it relates to the education side,” said museum spokesman Ken Leja.
The expansion plans were first proposed in 2016 and has since collected over $2 million in funding. Construction was initially planned to start earlier this year, but soil issues delayed the project after an engineer determined it was unsuitable for a building. The next step was to dig up the building’s footprint down to 14 feet and adding new soil.
“It turned out to be a good thing for us because while it costs more money than we had anticipated, it’ll be at the same level as the basement in this existing building, Lawler, which will enable us to have a passageway through it,” Veil said.
The education center is scheduled to open in 2020.
Founded in 1928 by Sharlot Mabridth Hall, an activist and poet who is considered Arizona’s first historian, Sharlot Hall consists of seven historic buildings and houses roughly 40,000 objects.