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Museum sees record number of visitors

Operations at the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum are looking up as it is seeing a record number of visitors and continuing its preservation efforts.

According to John Calvert, chair of Boulder City Museum and Historical Association, the museum hosted more tours during its 2020-2021 fiscal year than it had since moving into the hotel 20 years ago.

Tiane Marie, manager of the museum and its collections, said the facility had 69,285 visitors to its permanent exhibits as well as 6,757 users of the WalkBC self-guided audio walking tour of Boulder City during that time.

“So far this fiscal year, we’ve already matched the 2020-2021 fiscal year number, and we’re not finished yet. … It’s constantly a swarm right now in the hotel and the museum,” she added during a presentation at the Feb. 22 City Council meeting. “We’ve been completely booked since the beginning of February. It’s just constant now.”

Marie attributed the increased number of visitors to the museum’s Google Ad campaign and an increase in tour bus traffic due to dropping the admission fee. The ads are provided through a grant from Google.

With dropping the admission fee and asking for donations, Marie said they museum receives less money but they actually net more because they don’t have to pay to staff it.

Calvert also said there were several other “positive developments” in the last fiscal year for the museum and its programs including starting to rehabilitate the Fenton House at 640 Avenue C.

“Our house on Avenue C was one of the first single-family homes constructed by Six Companies for their employees,” said Marie. “According to the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office, this house ‘retains its original form and massing, and most of the historic fabric retains its integrity of location, design, feeling, association, and setting.’ It is our intent to rehabilitate the historically important structure.”

Marie said they have cleared the property of debris and installed a new roof. Currently, they are planning to finish its exterior with new siding, windows, screen and doors. All of them will be as historically accurate as possible.

During the presentation to City Council, Councilman James Howard Adams asked how they were maintaining that accuracy.

“We are studying it (the museum collections) constantly,” she said. “It’s a never-ending study process. We’ve used photographs. We use diary entries … (where) people have basically described how it used to look.”

Calvert said they have also been able to increase their efforts in digitizing the collections and help numerous researchers with their projects as well as welcoming back volunteers to the museum.

“Right now, I can actually say that everything that used to be on … our old software was officially 100 percent transferred, and now the process is actually just uploading new intake from our records,” said Marie.

The Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. To access its free digital archive, go to https://www.bchdmuseum.org/for-researchers-educators.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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