For the first time since December, the National VOA Museum of Broadcasting will be open for tours this Saturday and Sunday.
There were a few public tours in late 2011 before construction forced the budding museum to close its doors. Prior to those tours, the museum had been closed to the public for two years.
“We are just finishing some major construction work, so some items may not be redisplayed by those tour dates and some areas may not be as organized as they will be later,” said Ken Rieser, VOA museum board chairman. “We are opening to accommodate the many requests in association with the Dayton Hamvention and others.
“What you will be able to see is how wonderfully the building has been restored.”
The latest restoration work, which has forced the museum to be closed for tours so far in 2012, included installation of a new roof and block maintenance on the rear of the building.
In addition to a $500,000 grant from the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission, which will reimburse the township for the latest restoration work, the township also received a $1 million grant in 2008 to repair the exterior facade, windows and entry doors, as well as some electrical. During the 2008 restoration, the township had to pay an additional $731,653. Overall, West Chester has spent around $1.68 million from its own budget on utilities and improvements since 2004.
If and when the museum is completed, it is expected to attract 25,000 visitors, bring in $475,000 in out of area direct spending and provide an overall economic impact in excess of $1.7 million annually, according to estimates by museum design firm Jack Rouse Associates.
“It would certainly be a real asset to West Chester and draw people all over the country and the world,” said Mark Hecquet, executive director of the Butler County Visitors Bureau.
“Hopefully it comes to fruition because it is a one of a kind thing and we should do all we can to make it a reality.”
Once construction is completed, it will be up to the museum’s board of directors to raise approximately $12 million to make it a revenue generating landmark.
The National VOA Museum of Broadcasting consists of exhibits featuring the Voice of America at the VOA-Bethany station; Media Heritage’s Greater Cincinnati Museum of Broadcast History; the Gray History of Wireless Museum; and the West Chester Amateur Radio Assn.
This weekend’s tours will take place from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. On Saturday, there will be a $5 per car parking fee for The West Chester Liberty Rotary Club and the Cincy Blues Society’s Backyard Bash to held at the museum. On Sunday, parking will be free, but there is a suggested $5 donation per adult and $1 donation per child to tour the museum.
Board members of the facility plan to set regular tour hours in the near future and are implementing a docent program for volunteers to learn about the museum and lead tours. Those wishing to volunteer can contact Dave Snyder at DavidSnyde@aol.com.
For more information about VOA museums, go to www.voamuseum.org.
The museum is located at 8070 Tylersville Road in West Chester.