We’ve all been very concerned about the ongoing deterioration of the Blum House. We’ve had many conversations as a staff, and we realized that Blum needed to close indefinitely, primarily out of concern for visitor safety. As this is a major operational decision, the Executive Board needed to be involved with the final decision. Upon our recommendation, the executive board voted last week to close Blum to the public indefinitely.
For those that haven’t been out to OCP recently, a few of the issues with Blum include rotting wood, mold and ongoing issues with fleas. We hope that closing Blum will bring awareness to the deferred maintenance issues that plague not just our institution, but all city-owned facilities. There is a growing momentum to address these city-wide deferred maintenance issues, and we hope that that this very visible reminder will help with those larger efforts.
Blum has been a fundraising priority for years, but we have been unable to raise the funds to restore the building. Weare not giving up and are working to identify new avenues to finance the restoration work. With this indefinite closure, we have a far more compelling case for support. If you’d like to help in any way—by sharing this cause with others, introducing OCP to friends or making a financial contribution yourself, please be in touch with Preston or Melissa. Our most recent estimates put repairs in the $650,000 range—or about 65% of our annual operating budget.
In the coming weeks, we will be stabilizing the building, treating the fleas within, and removing some artifacts. It will remain closed until we can fully restore it. There is much work to do, but we know that with the support of people like you we can continue to preserve these wonderful buildings and move the past forward.
Melissa Prycer, President & Executive Director
Elizabeth Qualia, Curator of Collections and Interpretation