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At Framingham selectmen's meeting Danforth Museum to discuss purchasing historic town-owned building

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  February 4, 2013 12:55 PM

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The Danforth Museum and School of Art will go before the Framingham Board of Selectmen at Tuesday night's meeting to discuss purchasing the town-owned Jonathan Maynard Building at 14 Vernon St.

The museum begun moving its exhibitions and art classes over in the fall from its current location, 123 Union Ave., because the deteriorating building costs too much money to fix, museum leaders previously told the Globe.

Museum officials said they could not divulge details about the purchase until after Tuesday's meeting. However, Danforth director Katherine French previously said the Vernon Street property, a former school that the town renovated in 2010, would prove a perfect place for the museum because of its central location, proximity to Route 9 and the Massachusetts Turnpike, and a layout that is conducive to exhibitions and art classes.

The town is currently leasing second-floor space in the building to Framingham State University for three years starting last summer, leaving the first floor open for the Danforth.

French previously said she hopes the organization can take over the whole building by fall 2015 — after Framingham State moves out — and buy the location from the town after sufficient funds are raised.

“It’s a more adaptable space, and is really able to fit to our needs,” French said. “Right now the school and museum are located on two separate floors, but teachers need to use the museum as a teaching tool.”

Danforth officials have also previously discussed constructing an addition onto the building with controlled lighting and humidity.

French previously said that the location proves beneficial because of the close proximity to Framingham State and the Framingham History Center, which could help the museum's partnerships with these entities.

The Framingham center location also provides ample parking and brings more foot traffic.

The Danforth has also seen a spike in class attendance and exhibition admissions: the museum has grown its operations 8 percent since 2007, and increased membership more than five-fold, from 700 individuals in 2005 — when French took the reins as director — to 3,700 as of summer last year.

“We’re a community-based museum,” French previously said. “We feel very strongly that we should support the community, and that we’re the reflection of the community we’re in.”

The selectmen's meeting Tuesday will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ablondi room of Framingham Town Hall, located at 150 Concord St.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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