Members of the Bath Museum Committee read a statement aloud to the Bath Borough Council during council’s meeting on Monday, May 6. In their statement, the committee asked that they be granted a single key for access to the Bath Museum, located inside the borough’s municipal building.
The request came following a scheduling mix up last month that resulted in the museum being closed on April 20.
“One of the conditions Borough Council has imposed upon us is [that] a council member must be present to unlock, babysit, and lock the building,” the committee said in their statement.
Councilwoman Carol Bear-Heckman normally opens the museum. However, she was out of town on April 20. She requested that another member of council be present to open the museum.
“Four of us were waiting in the parking lot from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. on April 20 and no one came to open the museum,” the statement continued. The museum had to close for the day and post a note on the door.
The museum committee estimates that at least six cars and three other visitors were turned away that day.
“Look how many people were inconvenienced,” said the committee.
The committee had requested a key once before in February in case a member of council was not present to open the museum. However, their request was denied due to liability recommendations from the borough’s insurance company.
Council President Mark Saginario took responsibility for the scheduling mix up. He said he had to go into work that morning and did not realize he was supposed to be at the museum until it was “too late.”
“[This is] not on council,” he said in his apology. “I take total responsibility…and will do my best to make sure it does not happen again.”
Councilwoman Bear-Heckman said that three members of the committee live outside of the borough and travel in to help run the museum and catalog its items.
“[They are] doing this for the borough, not for themselves,” she said.
She made a motion, requesting that the museum committee receive a single key fob to gain access to the building when the museum is open.
She cited the requests council put on the museum over the last year, from downsizing to getting insurance to becoming a 501(c)(3).
“All they are asking for is a key fob,” she said.
However, the motion failed.
Councilman Saginario requested that borough manager Brad Flynn contact the borough’s insurance company about liability, and also said that council will put together a schedule to ensure that the museum is covered.
In other news, $6,000 in HARB façade grants was awarded to three property owners on South Chestnut Street.
There is still $4,000 left in grant funds. The HARB will be accepting applications for façade grants through July 10.
Councilwoman Bear-Heckman also announced that “Cheers on Chestnut” will be taking place in memory of artist Brenda Zellner. The event will be held on May 23 and will feature live music and a silent auction of Zellner’s artwork, which will be displayed in all eight businesses on the historic street.
Council praised Bath’s historic district and wondered whether signage can be placed that would alert residents and others to the businesses on Chestnut Street and the buildings’ historic significance. All of the buildings are from between 1799 and 1899.
Councilman Saginario was on board with exploring the costs of signage.
“[We are] reinvesting in the borough’s image,” he said.