Fort LeBoeuf Museum is open but aging heating and cooling systems could close it again
WATERFORD — The Fort LeBoeuf Museum in Waterford was closed briefly after its furnace stopped working two weeks ago.
The heat has been restored and the museum had reopened Monday. But it is operating on borrowed time.
Historians are raising money to replace the building's failing heating and cooling systems.
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On-again, off-again heat and air conditioning
The museum's furnace and air conditioner are at least 20 years old and are no longer reliable, said Assistant Museum Director Patrick Jenks, of the Fort LeBoeuf Historical Society, which owns and operates the museum at 103 S. High St.
"We had some issues with it within the last year, then things hit a point that necessitates a larger fix," Jenks said. "We'd been able to kind of nurse the system along and were in the middle of working to replace it by the end of this year. But the furnace had other plans.
"We were able to open the museum again this week, but it's a short-term fix," Jenks said.
None of the museum's artifacts and exhibits are in danger, Jenks said.
"If there are prolonged heating or cooling outages, there could be some issues," he said.
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How to donate
The Fort LeBoeuf Historical Society has started an online campaign to raise $12,000 to replace the furnace and air conditioning. The GoFundMe campaign began Thursday and by Monday afternoon had raised just over $1,300.
Donations can be made at bit.ly/40mYfA6.
Donations designated for the project can also be made on the Historical Society website at fortleboeufhistory.com or by mailing a check, payable to the society, to Fort LeBoeuf Historical Society, P.O. Box 622, Waterford, PA 16441.
About the museum
Fort LeBoeuf Museum exhibits and artifacts focus on the 1754-1763 French and Indian War when the British and French battled for control of the Ohio region. The French built a series of forts in the region in 1753, including Fort LeBoeuf on the banks of French Creek in what is now Waterford and Fort Presque Isle near the foot of Parade Street in Erie.
A young George Washington visited Fort LeBoeuf as an officer of the colonial Virginia militia in December 1753. Washington's mission was to inform the French that they were trespassing on territory that the British had claimed.
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Fort LeBoeuf Museum also tells the story of the Native Americans who lived in the area, the French and British fur trade and archaeological excavations at the site.
The museum was built in 1970 and was operated by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and later Edinboro University until 2010, when it was closed due to state budget cuts. The building was sold to the Fort LeBoeuf Historical Society for $1 in 2014.
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The state legislation authorizing the sale additionally authorized the sale of the neighboring Amos Judson House and Washington Park to the Historical Society, also for $1 each.
The museum is open by appointment and at other times when Historical Society members are in the building. Its regular season begins in May and continues Fridays through Sundays through October.
Contact Valerie Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Fort LeBoeuf Museum may be closed at times pending updated HVAC system