Bernardston museum to get fire alarms

Powers Institute Museum in Bernardston.

Powers Institute Museum in Bernardston.

BERNARDSTON — The town has taken the first step toward protecting its historical artifacts from fires.

The Board of Selectmen approved a fire alarm system for the Bernardston Historical Society Museum, located on the second floor of the Powers Institute.

The building also houses the Bernardston Senior Center, which already had fire alarms. An earlier grant that provided for those alarms came with the stipulation that it only be used for the floors that housed the Senior Center.

Earlier this summer, William Shores, of the Historical Commission, asked the board to approve $2,873 for the installation of fire alarms in the museum. The board took it under consideration until Wednesday night.

Selectman Robert Raymond said that, though the museum deserved fire alarms, he thought installing alarms in Town Hall took priority over the museum. His fellow selectmen agreed that Town Hall should be provided with alarms, but costs were prohibitive. At an estimated $25,000, it would be nearly 10 times as expensive to install fire alarms in Town Hall.

After a few minutes of discussion, the board nearly tabled the matter.

“I’m going to stick my neck out,” said Selectman Virginia Budness. She then made a motion to approve the installation of fire alarms in the museum, to be funded by the Powers Institute budget.

With the support of board Chairman Louis Bordeaux, the motion passed. Raymond voted against the motion.

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