County Historical Museum Project Advances

The Door County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the next step in the Door County Historical Museum’s expansion and archives storage project during its September meeting. 

The estimated $6.26 million project would expand the museum at 18 N. 4th Ave. in Sturgeon Bay by 11,240 square feet for additional museum space and archives storage. 

The project cost estimated by design firm Dorschner Associates includes demolition of the adjacent Younkers building.

The original museum was constructed in 1939, with a 4,410-square-foot addition constructed in 1983 to expand the 1,400-square-foot first-floor gallery.

The cost estimates were developed during the schematic design and development phase, which was presented to the board in July. With the county board’s September approval, Dorschner is now proceeding with the project’s Phase II, which is the preparation of design and construction documents and competitive bidding. 

The county had purchased the Younkers building at 56 N. 4th Ave. for $505,000 in 2019 with the intention of using the 22,000-square-foot, vacant building for the archives space and parking. The county determined the building was too expensive to renovate for the museum project, however, following a master plan completed in 2020 of all County of Door buildings in Sturgeon Bay.

The Door County Maritime Museum expressed interest in the Younkers building for archival storage and classroom space – an idea that gained support from county board supervisors in July. But by September, that idea was no longer on the table. 

“The maritime museum is not ready to proceed at this time,” said Ken Pabich, Door County administrator, during the September board meeting. 

After the building is demolished, “we’ll have that site and look for a compatible partner,” Pabich said.

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