In 2001 a bold new 3 phase plan to renovate the historic building and establish the first labor history museum in the state was conceived. A capital was started and it took 4 years to raise over 450,000.00 before starting the first phase of the renovation. Once construction began and the building trades started volunteering in-kind their craft, it has created a new life for the aged building which is now in the last phase of a $1.2 million dollar renovation. The last phase of the renovation consists of an elevator/stairwell addition to the back of the building. This phase is estimated at 300,000 dollars and we are starting a new capital campaign to raise the funds.
The first improvement made on the historic Philip Murray Building where the museum is housed was ADA restrooms thanks to a matching grant from the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs and over 1500 hours of in-kind labor donated by the building trades. The plans for the 1.2 million-renovation project have green elements incorporated in them. We have just finished the first 2 phases of the renovation and are so thankful that the building trades have helped us again with in-kind labor. The in-kind labor helps us to get twice the value for the dollars raised and it also helps us leverage corporate support by demonstrating how far we can make their dollars go. The 2nd floor renovations were completed for the Labor Day 2011 re-dedication of the building.
This room is approximately 1,800 sq.ft. with a dais in the front. The room is used in many different capacities and by various organizations. The most consistent use is for monthly union meetings but it is also offered to the public and is used by organizations such as A.A., Democratic Party, Community Foundation, and United Way, programming events for the museum (exhibit débuts, guest speakers, educational programs for classroom field visits to the museum),. This is the same room Elizabeth Reuther used for her book review and signing. We made every effort to keep the room in its original period décor of the 1940s. The room is immersed with labor history displayed on the walls such as moments and milestones of the labor movement. It is our belief that when the public uses this room people will be drawn to read what is on the walls and be educated on how the standard of living we all enjoy today is a direct result of organized labor’s struggles.