The Amherst Historical Society and Museum supports the expansion and renovation plans of the Jones Library. The two organizations are neighbors on Amity Street and our buildings, although not related institutionally, share space that enhances both structures and the experience of visitors to Amherst. Of greater importance, however, is the outcome of lengthy discussions in 2009 and 2010 that suggested that the two institutions should cooperate more fully. We anticipate, for example, that the expanded Jones Library will have storage space dedicated to the Historical Society’s more delicate collections such as textiles, paintings, and works on paper. We hope too that there will be exhibition space that will enable members of the public to see Historical Society objects in ways that the mid-eighteenth-century Strong House precludes at the present time.
Another aspect of the building plan that the Historical Society supports is expanded public meeting space, something that is in short supply in Amherst, at least at no cost to residents. It is often difficult to schedule events because of so much demand. The Historical Society holds its annual meeting and lectures in the Jones Library; the Historical Society does not have sufficient space for our own membership and has no plans for an addition to accommodate large events.
The residents of Amherst deserve a public library that is easy to navigate, fully accessible, and user friendly. The staff and collections are great assets to the Town; they and the residents deserve a building to match.
Georgia B. Barnhill
President, Amherst Historical Society