City of Princeton

PRINCETON — Antique fans can look forward to a unique museum that’s currently in the works.

The city of Princeton is currently accepting information from architectural firms for the project of the Lonnie Gunter Jr. Center for Culture and History. According to Princeton City Manager, Mike Webb, this center will act as an all in one location for the history and culture of the area with a large display of antique toys.

According to Webb, Gunter, a former Shady Spring resident, owned an impressive collection of antique toys and steam engines. These toys, dating as far back as the turn of the century, are excellent representations of true Americana, Webb believes.

“It’s a significant collection. It’s well worth the investment if the city can make it as far as creating the multi-complex museum that we’re looking at,” Webb said.

While the design of the building will be collaborated on with the chosen architectural and engineering firm the location of the building is determined. According to Webb, the new museum will be located in Princeton’s historic district.

Webb stated that the center is set to be placed near the Princeton Railroad Museum, though it will not be railroad focused.

“This isn’t specific to railroad or anything that way, but it does have things to do with the railroad to some extent, as well as steam engines,” Webb said.

The historic district is also home to the Agricultural Museum and other historic buildings dating back to Princeton’s humble beginnings. With such close proximity to the growing Mercer Street Grassroots District, Webb believes that guests can easily spend a day exploring Princeton.

“You’re going to have a historic community at that point. It could be an all-day adventure really for families. It will tie in from one end to the other of Mercer Street,” Webb said.

With nothing quite like the proposed center in the area, Webb is hoping to see increased traffic once it’s completed. The historic district proves to be a hot spot for tourists. As of now, the Railroad Museum alone is drawing 4,000 people a year, Webb said.

Further than being a museum, the center will also be a location for educational purposes Webb stated.

The city of Princeton will be accepting information from architectural and engineering firms until 4 p.m. on March 13. Firms interested must submit proof of qualifications of prior experience, management and staffing capability, and technical expertise.

Contact Emily D. Coppola at ecoppola@bdtonline.com

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