A historic downtown Gainesville building will soon reopen its doors as a library, archive and community meeting space thanks to a state grant.
The Matheson History Museum received a $300,000 special category grant from the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources. It will go toward renovating the building that used to house the Melting Pot, according to a press release from the museum.
The museum’s current archive recently reached capacity, so it plans to use the building to house these archives, which feature local history, and a library that researchers and members of the community may use.
The grant will fund renovations to the exterior of the building, located at 418 E. University Ave., while private donations will fund the interior renovations, according to the press release.
“We want to keep as much of the original building as possible,” said Peggy Macdonald, executive director of the Matheson History Museum. “It’s beautiful and historic. Many people have fond memories of it.”
The building will also hold a large community meeting space, which will be available for free to the public, she said.
The building, built in 1935, was originally the Gainesville Gospel Tabernacle Church, according to the Alachua County Property Appraiser.
From 1976 to 1982, it served as the Barrow Family Antique Store, owned and operated by Dr. Mark V. Barrow, a retired cardiologist and one of the Matheson History Museum founders, according to the press release.
The Matheson History Museum purchased the building in 2014 for $195,000, according to Macdonald. And the project should be completed by 2016, she said.
“There’s so much interest in local history,” Macdonald said. “It’ll be a wonderful way to attract community members and invite them in to discover local history.”