Left: The Museum of Photo Antiquities has run out of space in its current location on E. Ohio Street. (Photo courtesy The Museum of Photo Antiquities)
The Museum of Photo Antiquities currently brings in about 5,000 visitors per year.
Founder and owner Bruce Klein hopes to increase that number to between 30,000 and 50,000 per year, and to do it, he plans to move the museum from its current East Ohio Street location to the former Allegheny Social Hall in East Deutschtown.
If the increase in visitors seems like a lot, it is. But the increase in space will be equally large: from 1,800 square feet to 18,000 square feet.
"We have turned down groups of 100 here already so we will absolutely attract more visitors," Klein said. "We will be able to accept all of those people at once."
With relocation Photo Antiquities can add features like a research library, a small theater to show old photographic lantern slides, classrooms and permanent archival space. It would also have a larger space for current exhibits like the 19th century photo studio and the Civil War 150th anniversary exhibit.
The social hall can also be made handicap accessible. First, though it needs many renovations.
Although Photo Antiquities already owns the building, it has been empty for 40 years. It needs utility work, new heating and air conditioning systems and new windows. The building will also have to be converted into one appropriate for a museum, with exhibit spaces.
The parking lot for the relocated museum will be behind the hall, where there is plenty of room for cars and school busses, Klein said.
On July 12 Klein will announce a fund raising drive and launch his search for a fund raising drive director at the Allegheny Harvard Yale Club Downtown.
Klein said he was still working with architects and did not yet have a final cost for the project or a fund raising goal. Once the yet-to-be determined amount is reached, the museum can move within one year.
Klein said that he would move tomorrow if he could.
"Once we try to raise the money and get it built, it will be a good thing for the Spring Garden area to clean it up," Klein said. "It might be a catalyst for future development in the area if we get it built."
On July 14 at 6:30 p.m. Photo Antiquities will have an open house for the public to view the collections for free. Guests will be able to donate to the museum if they so choose.
Ashley Goodsell graduated from Point Park University this year with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She was co-sports editor for Point Park’s newspaper and plans on attending graduate school for communications or advertising.