Bartlett Historical Society Museum Project
The Renovation and Transformation of the Former
St. Joseph Church into our New Headquarters and Museum

“Bartlett Historical Society Museum”

Capital Campaign & Building Renovation

Frequently Asked Questions



Divided into four basic sections by topic heading:

1.       Transformation of the Church to a Museum

2.       Fund Raising

3.       Renovation

4.       Miscellaneous

 1.      Transformation of the Church to a Museum Section

Q:  What makes this church building so special that the Bartlett Historical Society (BHS) is working to save it?

A:  The mission of the BHS is, in short, to preserve the history of Bartlett.  St. Joseph Church, located in Bartlett Village, was the first Catholic Church in the Mount Washington Valley area.  Built in 1890, it provided worshipers a local church versus needing to travel to Whitefield for services.  The church was built with donations from the local community and, until it was closed in 1999, remained as a central point for local Catholics to attend services and attend to their spiritual needs.  It was one of several churches in Bartlett to serve the religious needs and beliefs of the community.  Saving this historic structure is in line with our mission as an organization and important to the town of Bartlett.


Q:  What does the Bartlett Historical Society intend to change in the renovated structure?

A:  Most importantly, we intend to preserve the character of the church building with this renovation while creating a museum for Bartlett history.  Aside from a sign on the exterior of the building identifying the building as the headquarters for the BHS and our historical museum, the building will look much like it does today with its crosses and same physical footprint.  With the renovation, we intend to make the following changes:

·         The stained glass windows will be replaced with new energy efficient windows but we intend to redisplay the stained glass windows in a shadow box format in the church

·         The pews will be removed but we will restore some pews and keep them in the museum area of the building

·         The altar will be kept but moved to a different spot in the church; the traditional altar area will become a presentation stage

·         We will make the museum building handicapped accessible with a ramp and ADA lavatory

·         All mechanical systems in the building will be updated and the structure will be strengthened as needed.


Q:  During the renovation, what items will be saved from the church and where will they be stored?

A:  There are four specific items what will be saved and removed from the church during the renovation process.  They are the altar, the five sets of stained glass windows, the remaining pews and the movable pulpit.  All of these items will be stored safely where possible in Bartlett and under the care of one or more of the members of the BHS Board of Directors.


Q:  What does the Bartlett Historical Society intend to do with the building once it is renovated?

A:  After the renovation is completed, the St. Joseph Church building will serve as a multi-purpose building and referred to as a “museum”.  The building will serve the following uses:

·         The headquarters for the Bartlett Historical Society

·         A museum to display artifacts, records and documents of Bartlett history, open to the public

·         An archive to safely store “The Bartlett Collection” of artifacts, records and documents

·         A stage for BHS sponsored presentations on historic topics and gathering place for BHS events

·         A research center for family genealogies and Bartlett history.


Q:  What will the renovated building be named at the ribbon cutting ceremony?

A:  The Bartlett Historical Society Museum


Q:  Where are the historical records, documents and artifacts of the Bartlett Historical Society kept today and why can’t that location be the BHS headquarters?

A:  BHS currently utilizes a chalet in the Glen section of town near Story Land to store its records and documents but this building does not belong to the society.  Also, it is also not suitable for a full time headquarters due to its small size and the fact that it is in need of major renovation work as well.  The building holds no historic value.  Other than this site, records and artifacts are located in various basements, garages, barns and other private homes in Bartlett.  We also have some items on display in the Community Room at the Bartlett Elementary School.  It is important to note that there are other stores of Bartlett historical artifacts currently housed and cared for in the Bartlett Public Library and with a couple of private family collections.  It would be our intention to offer that these collections be stored (on loan) in the renovated BHS headquarters to make a complete history of the town available.


Q:  Weren’t there plans to move the building to a new location?

A:  Yes, at one point in time, there was an idea floated to move the building to the Railroad Park but the selected location is already in use as a youth soccer field.  Additionally, the cost of moving the building was approximately $40,000, adding to the cost of the renovation.  Finally, moving the building would mean additional risk of damage to the structure as well as added cost for a new foundation plus other incidental costs (e.g. special permits, new utility connections, reclamation of the existing site to name three).  Moving the building would not eliminate any of the proposed renovation projects.  For these reasons, the decision to move the building was abandoned.


Q:  What will this renovation project do for the Bartlett community?

A:  Currently, in its state of disrepair, the church building is considered an “eyesore” in Bartlett Village by some people.  And, in fact, it currently does nothing to add to the community.  Renovating the building will revitalize a deteriorating structure, provide people interested in Bartlett history a place to see documents and artifacts related to the history of the town and, overall, add another component to an effort to bring some life back to Bartlett Village.  It will make a basically abandoned structure useful again as a point of interest for educational and cultural activities in Bartlett as a whole.


Q:  What is the commitment of the Board of Directors of the Bartlett Historical Society to this project?

A:  The BHS Board of Directors is 100% in support of this project both from an historic preservation perspective as well as financial perspective.  Looking at this project from the historic perspective, this would be the largest preservation effort ever undertaken by the society.  It will not only give the BHS a new headquarters but also be a major step in preserving “The Bartlett Collection” of documents and artifacts.  It helps the Board fulfill their charge of protecting this collection of documents and artifacts.  From a financial perspective, every member of the BHS Board of Directors has made a meaningful financial commitment to the project. 


Q:  If someone donates the cost of a particular renovation and the renovation is completed, what happens to that renovated item if BHS ends the lease agreement?

A:  If the renovation is a fixed asset in the building and cannot be removed without impairing the operation of the building, the renovation asset will remain with the building.  If, however, the renovation asset can safely be removed from the building and the donor would like it returned to their possession, BHS will work with the school district representatives to see that the asset is properly returned.


Q:  Were other properties considered for the historical society headquarters that could be less costly to occupy?

A:  An inquiry was made into the availability of one other property in Bartlett Village but the owners were not interested in selling the property.  We have also looked at all available properties in the town of Bartlett to see if there was a suitable alternative to the church building.  None were found.  We have specific criteria that need to be met to even consider a building option.  Key among these items is that the building must be sizable enough to house a museum and presentation area, the building must be accessible to the public and the building must be reasonably maintainable. 

2. Fund Raising Section

Q:  Why should we give to the Bartlett Historical Society Museum capital campaign to save a building when there are so many other “human” needs in Bartlett and the Mount Washington Valley area?

A:  When making a decision on whether to give to our project versus a “human” needs effort, we encourage people continue to support the charity of their choice but we also ask that people consider support our project that is designed to preserve an important part of our local history and look to the future for what this renovation effort will do for the community.  We acknowledge that there are many worthy causes to which people can contribute and we would like to be one of those organizations.  Finally and simply said, history matters.  Our preservation of the history of this town provides educational, cultural and personal opportunities for people to contribute to the remembrance of the past and an opportunity to help shape the future of the town.  Put another way, we want to give current and future generations the opportunity to understand and appreciate the work efforts, talents, civic commitment and innovation of their forefathers so they can pass that spirit along to their heirs.


Q:  Can the cost of renovation be reduced through volunteer efforts?

A:  To a certain degree, we can look at ways of reducing the renovation cost through volunteer efforts.  To show our commitment to the project we are planning to put in a “sweat equity” effort where possible.  Things such as painting, debris removal and other smaller tasks can be done by volunteers.  We will, however, have professional contractors with one central project coordinator do the environmental, structural, reconstruction (including finish details) and utility work involved in the renovation.  This approach provides better assurance that we have a coordinated, efficient and consistently delivered product in the end.  Also, if there are follow up issues, we have one person to contact.  Finally, a professional contractor is licensed and insured so we reduce our liability by hiring a contractor.


Q:  What happens if the capital campaign does not raise all of the money needed for the renovation?

A:  We are very confident that through the generosity of the community, we will meet our campaign goal.  However, in the event that we fall short and cannot meet our campaign goal, we will look at our options.  For example, if we have met 80% of our goal, we may look to scale back the renovation but move forward completing the largest part of the project in the process.  If, however, we only secure less than 50% of our goal, for example, we may offer to return all of the money actually contributed and eliminate any pledges that are made to the campaign.


Q:  What sources of funding are you considering to achieve your campaign goals?

A:  We are looking at several potential sources of funding.  Potential donors or investors in this project are businesses and corporations in the area as well as key community leaders and private people of means in the area.  We also intend to apply for grants at the local, state and national level where our project meets their eligibility criteria.  Finally, we are looking for support at the grassroots level from people in the community, including BHS members.  All of these sources added together will hopefully bring us to our goal.


Q:  Would the Bartlett Historical Society consider borrowing money from a bank or mortgage company to close a campaign goal gap?

A:  If we fall short of our campaign goal and have exhausted all potential sources of giving toward the project, we will need to look into options available to us.  For example, if we are close to attaining our goal but still short of funds, we may look at our renovation plan to see if we can cut or defer a particular expense and still complete the renovation.  If we are considerably short of our goal, we may need to take an unwanted step and stop the project.  We are not looking to mortgage the difference between the pledged and cash total and the overall goal.  We will, however, most likely need to borrow the funds to cover the difference between the cash total received in the campaign and the pledged total that brings us to meeting our campaign goal.  The short term bridge loan would be paid off as pledges are received over the term of the pledge commitments.


Q:  How will the Bartlett Historical Society pay for the ongoing maintenance of the building after the renovation is completed?

A:  We are looking at different funding sources for ongoing maintenance.  First, we are looking to start a campaign to establish an endowment fund for the society from which maintenance costs will be obtained.  Second, BHS will continue doing fund raising efforts such as working with local restaurants who are willing to donate a portion of their receipts on a specific evening to the BHS.  Third, we are looking into the options available for other fund raising and charitable giving opportunities to support the building.  Finally, BHS may apply for specific grants that cover operational costs for non-profit organizations.


Q:  If someone contributes to the project at a Leadership level, can they have something in the building named after them or named in memory of someone?

A:  Yes, naming opportunities are available for people making a substantial contribution to the project.  A list of naming opportunities is available.


Q:  Have you talked with (name) about contributing to the project?

A:  We’ve talked with several people about our project and will check our list to see if we have them on the list or if we have talked with them.  Thank you for the possible lead.


Q:  How much of the money collected in the capital campaign for the renovation will actually go to the renovation effort?

A:  We will direct all money gifted to the BHS Museum Fund directly to project renovation and administration costs.  Renovation costs will be the materials needed to clean and transform the church into a museum – physical components and mechanical systems.  A very small amount of the money raised will need to go into administrative costs for running the campaign and renovation effort.  These things will be items such as office supplies, mailings, announcements, etc.  It is very important to note that no money will be directed to compensation, wages or salaries for the BHS Board of Directors or any other volunteers in the campaign.  BHS Board members serve on a strictly volunteer basis and will remain in that capacity.  Nor will any money be directed to current operational costs for the BHS organization prior to occupying the renovated museum.  Detailed records will be kept to show all income and expenses for the campaign and renovation effort.


  3. Renovation Section

Q:  Why does this renovation project have such a high price tag?

A:  After it was closed in 1999, the building was purchased by the Bartlett School District but because of issues with exposure to asbestos and lead, school children were not allowed to use the building.  As a result, the building was turned into a storage facility.  Over the past 16 years, little to no maintenance has been performed on the building so all of its mechanical systems have suffered from aging.  In addition, the physical structure has been stressed.  On the positive side, the frame and foundation of the building are sound so we have a good base from which we can work to save the building.  This renovation is designed to strengthen the physical structure as well as update all of the mechanical systems to make the building safe and efficient for occupancy.


Q:  How much asbestos and lead is in the building and what is being done about these things?

A:  A recent analysis conducted by a certified NH environmental firm concluded that our lead, asbestos and mold status is as follows:

·         Lead:  Lead paint has been detected in the chair rail and wainscoting as well as on the altar, pews and window trim in the building; paint on the interior walls of the building, covering the plaster, was determined to be lead free

·         Asbestos:  Asbestos was detected only in floor tiles in the altar area and area where pews were located (all tiles are under carpeting at present); asphalt roof shingles and horsehair plaster on interior walls were determined to be free of asbestos

·         Mold:  Mold spores can be seen on the ceiling plaster as well as in other areas of the building including the basement.

Our primary concern is the safety of all involved in the renovation project as well as visitors and occupants of the building after the renovation is complete.  To that end, we are working with a certified environmental contractor who will remove all of the lead, asbestos and mold in accordance with state and federal regulations.


Q:  Will the vinyl siding stay on the building?

A:  Yes, at least for the time being.  The renovation project for the building will focus on the interior of the church for the most part.  The current siding will be repaired where needed, cleaned and painted but it will not be removed.  If we were to remove the siding, we would be faced with the job of having the lead paint covering the clapboards removed by an environmental cleaning firm and then repainting the building.  This would represent another huge expense for the historical society that we just cannot cover at the present time.  Exposing the exterior wood would also, over time, add to our maintenance costs.


Q:  Is this building really worth saving?

A:  We, the Bartlett Historical Society Board of Directors, believe it is.  We have consulted with local contractors who have judged that, while the building shows definite signs of age and needs a major renovation, the frame of the building is essentially sound.  The mechanical systems in the building need to be updated for safe operation.  All of this building deterioration is due to lack of maintenance for the past 16 years.  From an historic perspective, the structure carries a significant historic background in Bartlett and the Mount Washington Valley area.  It is our position that with a major effort done now, the building can be repaired and brought back to a useful life.


Q:  How long will it take to do the renovation of the St. Joseph Church building?

A:  We estimate that the actual renovation project will take about nine to twelve months to complete.  The fund raising effort could take 12 – 18 months depending on the response of the prospective donors and community in general.


Q:  Can this renovation project be done in phases?

A:  This renovation project is a major effort involving every component of the building.  While we can do things such as replace the roof, for example, and stop for a period of time, we cannot occupy the building until we have safely upgraded the mechanical systems and fully stabilized the building.  Therefore, while phasing is possible, it will prolong the renovation project.  We feel it is better to do the full renovation effort in one shot while the contractor is focused on the work and the building is unoccupied.


        4.  Miscellaneous Section

Q:  Doesn’t the school need the space now occupied by the church building for additional parking?

A:  If the church building was demolished, the plan was to use that space for additional school parking and open area.  However, with the declining school population, the need for additional parking space has lessened over the years.  The Bartlett School Board has no issues with the building remaining in its current location and current parking situation.


Q:  Will the building be insured during and after the renovation effort?

A:  Yes, there are different policies covering the building.  The Bartlett School District (owners of the building) has the building covered under a property and casualty policy.  The Bartlett Historical Society has the building covered under a liability policy that is in accordance with the lease agreement we have with the district.  Finally, the Bartlett Historical Society will ensure that all contractors working on the building provide evidence of their liability insurance (including the general contractor securing a builders risk policy) and workers compensation coverage.  We have already had a thorough discussion of the coverages needed with our insurance broker.


Q:  What are the terms of the lease that the Bartlett Historical Society has with the Bartlett School District for this building?

A:  The highlights of the lease are as follows:

·         We have a 25 year lease agreement beginning on June 1, 2016 and ending on May 31, 2041; there are also two options to extend the lease by five years to 2046 and 2051 at the discretion of the historical society

·         Our annual lease payment is $100

·         BHS is responsible for the maintenance of the building and has permission to conduct a full renovation of the building.

Obviously, there are many other terms and conditions in the lease that are all focused on the Landlord / Tenant relationship.  The lease also contains language providing BHS the opportunity to purchase the property if the conditions are right and all parties are in agreement with a purchase deal.


Q:  When the renovation is completed, will the Bartlett Historical Society allow the building to be rented for other functions or by other organizations?

A:  If BHS decides to rent the museum to another organization, the organization in question will have to meet strict and specific criteria for the rental to occur.  At this point, we have not developed those criteria but we have discussed this topic at a high level.


Q:  Why is BHS considering moving out of the Chalet in Glen, NH where it currently stored many documents and artifacts?

A:  The decision to move from the Chalet has several reasons.  1.  BHS does not own the Chalet but is allowed to use the building at the goodwill of the owner; 2.  The Chalet is, itself, in need of repair and renovation and no one is interested in putting funds into the structure; 3.  The Chalet has worked as a good place to store BHS documents, records and some artifacts but it is not suited for public visits as a museum, a presentation hall or historical research facility so it will not meet the needs of the society going forward; 4.  Finally, the structure holds no historic value.




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Bartlett Historical Society Museum Project
The Renovation and Transformation of the Former
St. Joseph Church into our new headquarters and museum

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