FAMED CELEBRITY HONORED — Granger museum volunteer Bruce Hall examines a display featuring a gold brocade jacket once worn on stage by showman Liberace. The jacket is one of thousands of prized acquisitions on display in the Granger Historical Society collection.

GRANGER — The town’s collection of historical artifacts on display in the former chapel of the Granger Catholic mission is bursting at the seams.

While community preservationists had hoped to purchase a nearby church in which to move its collections, that plan fell through about a year ago, local historical society leaders said.

“Now we are in a time crunch to lose a large state grant, which we had hoped to use as startup funds for the expansion,” said Bruce Hall, Granger Historical Society treasurer and museum volunteer.

Hall said the group hoped to have a new enlarged facility opening this spring. Due to several complications, “…we are unable to make that happen.”

“We sought and acquired a $300,000 Department of Commerce grant from the state Legislature’s 2017-2019 budget, thanks to help from Sen. Jim Honeyford-(R-S),” Hall explained.

However, the purchase of the property we had our eye on fell through,” he added.

The Society decided to construct a brand new 4,800 square foot building on the city-owned property, next to the library, Hall explained.

“So, we’ve approached the Department of Commerce to amend our grant from acquisition to construction and to extend the grant deadline,” he said.

Hall said the Society’s request is now in legislative committee, “…so we are getting a little nervous,” he admitted.

Like with many grants, there is a deadline to complete state-funded projects.

“We are running out of time. June 30 is the deadline.”

 If the legislature comes through and allows the change in the grant wording, the Society will still need an additional $125,000 to complete the program.

“We have created a ‘GoFundMe’ account. We are hoping people will help us out with a tax-deductible donation,” Hall suggested.

“We have long since outgrown our current space,” declared Society Board President Helen Dodd.

She and other members of the community volunteer history preservationists have stored a great deal of the town’s growing collection in private barns, sheds and garages.

Hall said even if the grant money goes away, it is the Society’s goal to build a new museum.

“It just may take a little longer than two years,” he concluded.

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