Cultural, Civic & Arts, *On the Boards

Platte County Museum & Historical Society

Upon the success of MONA and the Columbus Community Building, the Platte County Museum Board of Directors hired BVH to cast a vision for their new museum. Facing a growing collection and deteriorating building, the Board realized the institution’s mission was no longer the same. BVH aligned services with Friesen / Dakin, a collections assessment consultancy, to deliver an interactive, collaborative site selection and programming process to right-size a new museum building.

BVH spent considerable time understanding the collection, the current operations, and constraining limitations to create the foundation for the programming process. The result is a programmed building that will conserve its current collection within a proper museum environment, expand its program offerings, and present new space types for revenue generation. Additionally, the site plan considers connections to exterior exhibition spaces within a native prairie and public amenities.

Concurrent with the programming effort, our team analyzed different sites and discussed our findings to choose the new location for the museum. A matrix with associated diagrams documented the analysis leading to two site preferences. The chosen site reimagines an underutilized agricultural park that currently hosts the Platte County Fair. Advantages of the site include ownership by Platte County, generous space, and integration with established onsite partnerships.

Influenced by agricultural vernacular, the building stretches out in plan with a repetitious structural frame for economy and clarity. A visitor reception area, visitor services, and administrative functions are housed within. The primary exhibition space colocates traditional exhibit strategies with an open storage concept: proper art storage and handling with room for growth complete the main floor spaces. Adjacent to the exhibition space is an experiential ramp that provides ascending views of the exhibits below. A multipurpose space complete with a catering kitchen terminates the ramp. Prominent views overlooking the interior and exterior exhibits plus a reconnection to the exterior landscape are afforded from the elevated multipurpose space. An enclosed, conditioned exterior exhibition space houses large display items, such as tractors and automobiles assembled in the County. We are actively working with Donors during the design process to engage them in the Museum updates.

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