There will be something old, and something new, when the Bountiful/Davis Art Center and a history center are joined together in something that's not really a marriage -- more like moving in together.
"We'll end up just sharing a building, but we don't have any formal organization between us," said Dean Collinwood, chairman of the South Davis History Council.
The "something old" in this union is the Bountiful/Davis Art Center -- the 50-year-old building is about to undergo a big renovation. The "something new" is the 5,000-square-foot history center, which will be attached to the art center with 4,000 square feet of common space connecting them.
The close quarters are likely to lead to the birth of joint projects.
"For example, if the art center decided they want to do something about landscape paintings of Davis County ... then we might decide to bring in a speaker during the exhibit to talk about farming culture in Davis County," said Collinwood. "We can play off each other."
The new addition will be added onto the south side of the art center, in what is now a parking area. The renovation of the art center includes new heating and air conditioning, a new roof, new windows and a fire suppression system in the basement. A joint entryway, between the old and new parts of the building, will provide easier access for patrons than the current stairs. There will also be an elevator to the art center's basement.
Money for the project is coming through the Bountiful Redevelopment Agency, Centerville and donations.
"I think construction will start mid-June," said Lloyd Cheney, Bountiful's assistant city engineer and project manager. "I would expect construction to finish, probably, in March or April."
Emma Dugal, executive director of the Bountiful/Davis Art Center, says the renovation will open up space.
"We anticipate being able to exhibit more art, and give more artists opportunities," she said. "We've almost grown out of the building, so this comes at a very good time."
Usable items, including the lighting system and audiovisual equipment, will be removed for demolition and reinstalled when renovation is complete.
"Everything will be updated," said Dugal. "There will be new flooring, and new walls, and our offices will be moved to another area."
During construction, exhibits will be at the CenterPoint Legacy Theatre in Centerville.
The Bountiful Historical Museum is currently housed in the basement of a nearby building. Most of the surrounding cities don't have museums, except Centerville, and it's closed for remodeling.
The new history center will be regional, covering south Davis County from Centerville to North Salt Lake.
"We discovered early on that you cannot really tell Bountiful history without telling the history of the cities surrounding Bountiful," said Collinwood. "Historically, they were all one community, and frankly, they still are one community in many ways."
An organization called the South Davis History Council has been formed with members from the area cities.
"They meet together regularly, and spend their time gathering the stories, the pictures and the artifacts that they believe will best represent the history of their specific city," Collinwood said. "They will bring all that information into one spot, and we will decide how much we can put in."
The exhibits can't be designed until construction is done, but the committee has a lot of ideas.
"We love the idea of having people come into the museum and really experiencing history, not just looking at it and reading a poster board," said Collinwood.
That may mean playing games from the past, for example.
"We're going to actually invite people in the community, older people, to donate some of their special marbles to the museum, and then we can use those to actually teach kids how to play," he said. "We might have somebody come into the museum from time to time to teach girls to braid hair the way great-grandma used to."
There's also talk of a period room, furnished as a parlor from the 1890s, where children can listen to true stories from history.
"We might have a spot to make bricks or something out of clay," he added. "In the 1900s or so, there were several brick-making companies in this area."
Folks with ancestors from south Davis County will be invited to share their family stories, and maybe record passages from diaries for audio presentations.
"The history center will include an archive in a climate-controlled room -- light-controlled and humidity-controlled -- where rare and fragile documents can safely be stored," said Collinwood. Families could donate documents to keep collections together and accessible to all.
The museum will be inclusive of many people, he said, and not just a history of Mormon pioneers. It will also explore what happened in the area before the pioneers came, and history as recent as yesterday.
The common area between the art and history centers will feature a high ceiling, a gift shop serving both entities, and a multipurpose room.
Dugal is planning to use the space for art receptions, and Collinwood would like to bring in music groups from local schools or host history lectures.
Dugal is excited about the centers moving in together.
"It will be more of a destination for people to come who are interested in art and history" she said.