SEYMOUR — The city of Seymour celebrates a grand re-opening, a rededication of one of the oldest buildings in town, finding new life as the city’s first museum. 

Board members said the Seymour Museum Center, which celebrated its reopening with a gala event Saturday, Aug. 6, has helped put the small city back on the map. 

“I think Seymour has been reawakened. And this is really symbolic of the reawakening of the city,” Erik Zakrzewski said. “We are going through a rebirth. A period where investors and businesses feel confident to come into town. We have a very active main street group that’s helping to refurbish, pretty much the entire town.”

The museum itself, at the corner of N Chestnut & W 3rd Street is no exception. The two-story structure, originally built in 1916 as the town post office, will now house multiple levels of exhibition space. Museum Center Board Member Ruth Ann Rebber explained how its storied past keeps growing. 

“It was a post office until about 1967 when it became city hall… the police department and it was abandoned by the city because we had new of all of that in 2006,” Rebber said. “It’s been sitting empty since 2006. Everybody wishing it would be a museum.”

It’s taken 17 years but that wish finally has come true with the help of grant funding, volunteer hours and years of patience. In a similar way to how the museum itself sat patiently idle for more than a decade, so too did a damaged statue of a Civil War soldier, waiting at ease since the 60s.

The soldier statue which stood watch proudly since 1890 was nearly destroyed by vandals in the 1960s. Using a 3D printer and enlisting the help of the Seymour High School Manufacturing Center, Zakrzewski was able to scan and print many of the statue’s missing pieces; its head and hand… but not its heart.

“It had a lot of love that needed to go into it,” Zakrzewski said. “I have worked over every inch of that statue and with the help of the school we were able to really bring some modern technology and bring that statue back to life.”

The museum is free to the public and includes a large telephone collection that includes the first phone booth in the state with some phones themselves built in the 1880s, significantly older than the building that houses them.

Dubbed a “work of love” by the community and the volunteers involved… the Seymour Museum Center is open Saturdays moving forward with plans to open an additional weekday as well but the museum is completely volunteer-driven, and hours are contingent on staffing.