“When we applied for the grant from the State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs, the panel’s greatest concern was historic preservation,” said Luisi. “The train station that is now our museum was built in 1924 by the Atlantic Coast Railroad. I shared my concerns and vision for the expansion with Rod Collman, President of sdg Architecture, and he understood. He set about designing a gift shop and new entryway that added only three walls with no noticeable difference in the design of the building. The fourth wall inside the gift shop is the original exterior east wall of the station with the original windows, roof and Dunedin railroad sign under the new roof structure,” he said.
right: Original train station building with addition on far end
right: Sculptures in front of new entry and gift shop
right: New entry area and gift shop enclosed with east exterior wall of original train station
above: 1926 train station living inside 2018 entry and gift shop
“The result was these three guys working together,” said Luisi. “It was a dream team. The City Commissioners and staff were so confident in the project’s planning and management, they rarely needed to check or supervise our progress. They had it covered.”
Luisi is proud of the new level of presentation in the museum’s exhibits. Because of the funding that became available for showcasing the museum’s collection and the objects borrowed for temporary exhibits, the design, fixtures and layout of the galleries is more visually and physically sophisticated than ever before. The City of Dunedin allocated $400,000 with half of that earmarked for the extension of the project for exhibits and completion and outfitting of gallery space. The State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs allocated $400,000 and the museum raised $60,000 in private funding to supplement exhibits.
This is what I call a Legacy Project. This is a very special project carefully planned to honor and celebrate the history and people of the past, present and future. I’ve had the pleasure of working on other such projects as the Dunedin Fine Art Center, the Dunedin Community Center and the Largo Public Library. I’m very happy to be a part of providing future generations of visitors and school children with such a wonderful resource and tribute to our city.