It took eight months, but the museum at the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park has finally re-opened after undergoing a $90,000 rehabilitation project necessitated by smoke damage.
New electrical wiring was installed throughout the 5,000-square-foot building, ceilings were repaired and repainted, and items in some display cases were updated as a result of smoke damaged sustained on March 9 after rodents chewed through wires under the roof.
The money is well spent, a state official said.
“In all of our historic parks, especially this one, because it was the first state historic park, it’s one of the best things that has happened to Arizona,” said Darla Cook, deputy director for development and operations at Arizona State Parks. “It brings a lot of significance to the area and new visitors want to see what it’s all about.”
Cook said that although costs have been about $90,000 so far, she expects the total to reach closer to $100,000 when all the final invoices are submitted.
The state’s long delay in soliciting and awarding a bid for the work had created growing frustration at the park, which reduced its entry fees from $7 to $5 per person as a result of having fewer open exhibits. Revenue declined as a result, and key attractions including the historic Washington Press that printed Arizona’s first newspaper were unavailable to visitors, including school groups.
The museum, built in 1964, was re-opened on Nov. 18. But it’s not complete since display cases are still being refilled as they and the artifacts they contain are cleaned of smoke damage.
“About 75 percent of the cases are done,” said Tom Walsh, president of Friends of the Tubac Presidio and Museum.
The restored museum will include more representations of Native American accomplishments and history, and will include more women as well, Walsh said. A new display titled “I Am Tubac” is set to be unveiled in the museum sometime around Jan. 1.
A grand opening for the refurbished museum is planned March 14, 2020, which is also Santa Gertrudis Day. Santa Gertrudis was the first name of the current St. Ann’s Catholic Church, located next to the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park on the east side of the village of Tubac.
The park is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more at www.tubacpp.com.