Exeter museum ‘CACHEs’ in on small town history

Exeter Historical Museum and Courthouse Gallery of the Arts hosts a rebranding to Center for Art, Culture and History-Exeter with a grand opening dinner

EXETER – Historians, Exeter residents and tourists will soon have the opportunity to experience the history of Exeter in a whole new fashion when the Exeter Historical Museum rebrands this summer to highlight Exeter’s rich history.

On June 10, the Exeter Historical Museum and Courthouse Gallery of the Arts will be hosting a grand opening event for the Center for Art, Culture and History-Exeter (CACHE). This event will present the public with the rebranded museum which includes not only new exhibits, but a new museum philosophy which combines the history and arts that are currently provided in the building. President of the board Dwight Miller said the board is pleased with the overwhelming positive support they have received since they started the rebranding of the museum.

“It’s the first time we’re opening CACHE, to distinguish it from the Exeter Historical Museum, because it has a different philosophy,” Miller said. “We’re changing out exhibits and we’re telling stories differently, so we wanted to capture who the new people are.”

Tickets are now available for the grand opening dinner at 6 p.m. on June 10 for $50 per person. There is also an option for a $500 sponsored table of eight which includes 5-6 p.m. charcuterie tables and drinks.  The event will feature a fundraising dinner celebration that will mark the new identity, focus and mission of the 20 year old organization. Residents are encouraged to join not only for dinner but for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and a tour of our newly renovated and rebranded facility. Miller said there is no limit as to how many people can join CACHE for dinner. They will be setting up as many tables as they need in the park across from the museum.

According to Miller, with the grand opening they will be dedicating two new additions to the museum, the bell and the granite trough at the west of the museum. He said the bell was donated by Exeter’s longtime Stanley family, and has a rich history whose story will finally be told. The bell’s history surrounds a horrendous fire that took place in Exeter’s early years on top of a livery stable according to Miller. Along with the bell will be an entire exhibit on the Exeter Fire Department and the history of fires in Exeter, called Exeter on Fire.

The granite trough, which has resided on Pine Street for several years also has quite a bit of history behind it. It was first built for the Granite Saloon in 1902 and was made of granite from Rocky Hill according to Miller. Additional topics that will be found in the new museum will include the history of the Exeter noon siren; a feature on two governors of Nevada who came from Exeter; the story of Japanese American Fibber Hirayama who was born in Exeter and went on to be an influential individual in the baseball and sports world and more.

These exhibits will be available to the public for a year and then the museum will rotate exhibits out to tell new stories. The switching of exhibits each year is a new goal for CACHE because there is so much history to tell according to MIller.

“Ultimately, we’re going to do video tours of our museum to capture this stuff forever and then the plan is to change out the exhibits each year,” Miller said. “We have a whole new set of stories to tell next year because there are too many stories, so we’re going to rotate through these various galleries of stories of Exeter’s people and events.”

Miller hopes to bring some of the exhibited individuals and or their family members to the museum to be honored at the grand opening festivities. He said he is excited about the event, but has a fear of not doing justice to those they are honoring. CACHE will also have a suggestion box available for anyone who has ideas, questions, thoughts or information for possible future exhibits for the museum.

As the museum has taken these steps to update, it has not been an easy pathway and they will begin fundraising heavily soon. There will be some additional changes with CACHE, as far as having locals contribute to their mission. Miller said they will be selling sponsorships and hope to find as many sponsorships as they can as well as they are going to aggressively apply for grants as they find them.

“We’re going to be kind of overt and intentional about saying that we do need money to keep this place going,” Miller said. “We’re all volunteers and to get this far we’re spending money that had been built up by our predecessors.”

As far as other updates and beautification go for the building, Miller said he is grateful for the local Garden Club because they have adopted them. Soon, the Garden Club will begin beautifying their landscaping. The museum will also be getting new signage outside their building.

As far as normal operations of the art gallery go, they will not be changing with the new updates. In fact starting on May 6, local artist Betty Berk’s neo-expressionist art will be on display until July 29. The museum and art gallery will be hosting an artist reception on Sunday May 21 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Start typing and press Enter to search