Rents Rise; Archaeology Museum Could Close

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The Payson Archaeology Museum will need to unearth some funds if it is to remain on Main Street at its current location.

The museum has cohabited a building on Main Street, owned by the Payson Womans Club for the past five years.

The Womans Club, in an effort to raise funds for building maintenance and improvements, will soon begin seeking rent from the nonprofit museum, said Anita White, president of the PWC.

In exchange for a $1 per year rental fee, the museum had a five-year contract with the Womans Club to pay for repairs, insurance and utilities for the building that it half-occupies, said Jinx Pyle, president of the Northern Gila County Historical Society.

The current lease agreement, which allows for the $1 yearly rent, expires at the end of July.

White said the timetable for the museum to come up with the funds, as well as the amount of the monthly rent, is negotiable.

The historical society voted in its monthly meeting last Thursday that the rent -- somewhere around $500, according to Pyle -- would be better spent elsewhere.

Pyle said the historical society decided, if the Rim Country chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society wants the museum to remain at its current location, it will have to come up with the funds.

"The archaeology society is benefiting there," Pyle said. "It's up to them if they want to stay there.

"I'm hoping that the archaeological society can stay. I'd hate to see them close."

Archaeologist Penny Minturn, who helped establish the museum, said the archaeological society is in a bind.

"We're a bit scattered and worried about it," Minturn said. "The archaeology society is trying to see if we can get enough support to come up with extra money to see if we can negotiate to keep (the museum) open.

"Hopefully, we can all come together," she said.

Minturn said the archaeology society doesn't have another location selected, in the event that the museum has to be moved. She admitted she wasn't sure if the museum would even be moved somewhere and reopened.

"It's pretty serious," she said.

The museum's focus is on archaeology and discoveries in the Rim Country. It also serves as a lab and storage facility for area artifacts.

Minturn said there are as many as 600 boxes in the lab, filled with artifacts.

"We're here to point out the value of our past," she said.

Minturn said that the archaeological society will most likely look to local schools, for which the museum serves as an educational tool, as well as the community, to come up with the funds.

The archaeological society's membership fees are $10 per year, Minturn said.

"We have no other income," she said. "We really need the community's support on this."

For more information about the Payson Archaeology Museum, contact Minturn at (928) 978-1682.

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