In October 2010, museum officials learned that a $140,000 grant awarded to them had been subsequently cut from the state budget. This grant had been intended for phase two of the museum revitalization project, which would convert the upstairs of the nationally registered historic building into a cultural center, archival research room and multipurpose educational room.
The museum’s board of directors and executive director, Anthea Humphreys, reacted to the lost grant funding by soliciting donations and community support.
“We did not have time to wait around for a year or two and apply for more grants,” Humphreys said. “The museum had been relying on opening the cultural center for added value programming to help increase visitation and membership.”
Work parties were formed to help with the renovation, with 30 volunteers from the University of Nevada, Reno History Club and Downtown Sparks Kiwanis Club pitching in. Gale Building Supply donated insulation while Maki Paint offered free labor and Sherwin Williams donated paint. Wedco donated electrical supplies, Mastercraft donated plywood, Victory donated baseboards, the Nevada Woodchucks contributed labor and Celtic Hardwood Floors provided installation, sanding and finishing of floors.
“Cash is short for most these days,” Humphreys said, “but individuals and businesses gave what they could. It has been heartwarming to see how the community really cares about preserving their heritage and creating a place of culture for their families.”
For more details about the cultural center at the Sparks Heritage Museum and opportunities to rent the space, call 355-1144.