HAMLET — The Hamlet Depot and Museum, which is currently open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, may soon be making changes to its operating hours.
During the Feb. 14 regular meeting of the Hamlet City Council, City Manager Jonathan Blanton recommended the motion — which was devised as a means to allow Hamlet Depot Museum Director and Downtown Coordinator Stephanie Thornsbury time to devote to administrative matters.
“The first order of business that I have for council tonight is to request a change to the hours of the museum to ‘by appointment only’ on Mondays,” Blanton said. “The depot board and Stephanie both agree that Monday is the slowest day for the museum with very few people, usually no one, coming through. This will give Stephanie time to focus on administrative work and her dual role as downtown coordinator, so I’m recommending a motion to be made to change the hours of the museum to ‘by appointment only’ on Mondays.”
The council decided to table the matter until the next meeting, citing concerns regarding the terms of grant funding for the museum which state that the museum must be operable on a “full-time” basis.
“I can certainly look into it,” Blanton replied. “I discussed this with the depot board at length, a couple of weeks ago.”
Blanton added that before the matter is formalized, he would make sure there was no conflict with the terms of the grant.
“We are currently researching and evaluating all aspects of the closure on Mondays,” Thornsbury said in a statement. “This includes ensuring that a Monday closure does not violate any agreement terms in the grant that was provided for the depot restoration. If a museum closure on Mondays is approved by the city council, this will allow me to focus on tasks outside of the museum. These tasks include meetings, visiting downtown business, coordinating events, and focusing on my dual title as downtown coordinator.”
Blanton said he does not foresee any conflict, but will thoroughly ensure that the terms of the funding are not violated.
“It was my understanding that when they first hired, that the museum would be closed on Mondays,” he said, speaking of previously hired museum directors and downtown coordinators. “Because it is a dual position, Jesse McQueen asked me to research it, so Stephanie and I are doing that research to make sure there were not any financial implications.”
As for upcoming events at the museum, Thornsbury said there’s a lot to look forward to this spring.
“Currently, I am working on a ‘Murder at the Museum’ murder mystery and dinner,” she said. “Tickets for this event will go on sale soon at the museum.”
Thornsbury said that interested parties can learn more about “Murder at the Museum” by liking the Hamlet Depot & Museums Facebook page.
“I will post there first when tickets go on sale,” she said. “We also have the Downtown Hamlet Farmers Market starting in May. The farmers market will be held every Thursday evening from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Main Street Park.”
For information on the farmers market call Thornsbury at 910-582-0603.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673.