Education is central to what we do as a Museum. Our festivals, monthly lectures, volunteer training, youth programs, tours and a host of other educational activities are planned and executed to fulfill our mission.
To meet and expand its educational programming and permanent exhibit — long recognized as currently limited by its physical plant — the Sharlot Hall Museum needs to expand its facilities to meet its educational programming and permanent exhibits long-range plan.
Specifically, capacity of the existing theater and multi-purpose room in the Lawler Exhibit Center does not adequately support existing programs and events, nor does it allow for expanded activities that require such facilities. Further, the continued need for these spaces for educational and other purposes precludes the expansion of the Museum’s permanent exhibits in accordance with our long-term exhibit plan.
This challenged has now been addressed, and a capital campaign to fund the design and construction of a much-needed Education Center is under way.
The need for an Education Center for the Museum was identified in a Master Plan for the Museum’s infrastructure development adopted by the Board more than 15 years ago. The Museum’s need for an appropriately-sized venue for lectures, presentations, performances, training and other events, as well as an alternative for outdoor events affected by inclement weather, have not been addressed.
Construction of the Museum Education Center will serve a three-fold purpose:
- First, it will accommodate seating for approximately 135 persons, far surpassing the capacity of either the existing theater in the Lawler Center (50) or the West Gallery (70), both of which have proven to be inadequate for many performances and events, particularly those associated with our festivals.
- Second, one or more classrooms will be incorporated into the design of the building, thus providing opportunities for expanded training and teaching activities for members, vol-unteers and the visiting public of all ages. It will also include office space for the Education Department and other staff.
- Third, the new facility will enable the Museum to re-allocate the space in the Lawler Center currently being used for lectures, presentations and events (i.e., the theater and the West Gallery), and the kitchen/break room, to permanent exhibit space in accordance with the Museum’s long-term exhibit plan.
The Education Center will be constructed at the of the Lawler Center where the small parking lot is now situated. While the planning for the building is in its very preliminary stage, our current cost estimate is approximately $2.25 million for the design and construction of the building.
Construction of this state-of-the-art education and event facility on the Museum grounds will help ensure the Museum’s continuity and continued growth, and further its mission to preserve and promote Arizona history for present and future generations. It is an ambitious project and will present a challenge for the Museum’s staff and Board, but with your help we know we can do it.