As renovations continue at the Toledo Zoo’s historic Museum of Science, a few pieces from the building will find new homes.
The museum — previously repurposed for administrative office space and a few exhibits — is being transformed back into a museum.
Transoms salvaged from the Toledo Zoo's museum building are for sale Wednesday at Architectural Artifacts in Toledo. The items were not compliant with current building codes and were replaced as the zoo renovates its former museum.
The vast majority of architectural items such as light fixtures, windows, railings, murals, benches, carved stone, and a multitude of other features are being restored and reincorporated into the new design. But a few pieces that are not original to the building or no longer meet current building code — or both — couldn’t be reincorporated. The zoo sold a number of solid oak doors, a few decorative transoms paired with some of those doors, and some metalwork to Toledo Architectural Artifacts to be found new homes.
“We value the [Works Progress Administration] buildings we have here on the grounds,” Shayla Bell Moriarty, zoo spokesman, said, referring to the New Deal employment program that provided jobs to millions of Depression-era Americans.
“Obviously, they are an integral part of our zoo experience and our heritage. We don’t take that lightly, and we don’t take that for granted.”
Of the 30 to 35 doors, 10 were original to the building — four pairs from the museum’s indoor theater and one pair from an elevator shaft that had been used as a storage room. Others had no historical significance, said Rick Payeff, the zoo’s director of facilities.
Mr. Payeff said because the zoo is renovating the 1936-vintage building, it must be brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The doors are too narrow under ADA standards, and subsequently cannot be reused in the renovated museum or elsewhere on zoo grounds.
The zoo sold the doors and a few other items to the Toledo shop for $400.
“We wanted to see that they could be repurposed somewhere else,” Mr. Payeff said. “That was the best avenue to make sure they get reused.”
Jane Cairl, who owns the shop with her husband, said part of the proceeds from the doors’ sales will be donated back to the Toledo Zoo.
“I would have loved to see them all stay, but none of the doors are really compliant,” Mrs. Cairl said. “It’s really a shame. I would have really liked to see them keep them and use them. We’re always more about that.”
Doors are one of the Ontario Street shop’s most popular items. She said the shop has about 4,000 doors and sells items across the country. The museum pieces, particularly the Works Progress Administration-era original doors and transoms, are beginning to draw attention after the store began marketing them recently.
“The ones from the theater are the most interesting, and have the big transoms that go with them,” Mrs. Cairl said.
The doors, along with their hardware, are priced at about $300 for some of the single doors to about $1,800 for the historic double-door pairs, Mrs. Cairl said.
Mr. Payeff said the zoo very rarely offloads such pieces entirely. Renovations of historic buildings start with an inventory of all pieces. Those pieces that will be affected by the work are removed and most often are suitable for reuse.
Even without the doors, the renovated museum will be far closer to its historic, original state than it has been for many decades, Mr. Payeff said.
“We’re bringing this building back to what it was,” he said.
The $27 million project is on track for grand reopening in the spring of 2019 with about 90 percent of the contract work awarded, Mr. Payeff said. Construction of two new greenhouses attached to the front and back of the museum is substantially complete, while demolition on the interior is now under way.
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