After twelve months, an eight-week break due to COVID-19, and a lot of hard work and effort, the Industrial History Center, a gallery and event space for the Amesbury Carriage Museum, is officially complete. As of Thursday, March 25th, BLB Custom Building received the final sign-offs for the interior phase of the project, accelerating the team towards the Certificate of Occupancy.

Fitted with an entry vestibule, reception area with additional office space, kitchenette, conference room, several “back-of-house” rooms, and expansive gallery space, the ACM is gearing up to host a variety of events following the IHC’s soft open in July. While the interior fit-out is complete, the exterior landscaping continues along with considerable progress.

While serving as the construction manager on the project, BLB worked hand-in-hand with ACM leadership and Merrimack Design Architects to deliver an exceptional space for the Amesbury community and beyond.

Industrial

Throughout the project, the team remained mindful of the nearly 200-year-old building and its history. While repointing the brick facade and windows, the crew used matching restoration brick for cohesiveness and historically accurate lime mortar. Modern black windows and storefront doors were installed, providing ample natural light and an inviting atmosphere for community members and visitors. Inside, the original Georgia Pine beams were accompanied by modern track lights suited for gallery spaces, a granite wall was cleaned and patched, and the concrete floors were ground and polished to maintain the industrial feel.

History

Credited as the oldest textile building within the existing Amesbury mill yard, the IHC was built by the Salisbury Manufacturing Company in the mid-1820s, which eventually shifted from textiles to auto body manufacturing. To celebrate and appreciate Amesbury’s rich history, the AMC will house a variety of programs and artifacts within the IHC – including carriages and industrial equipment.

Learn more about the history of the IHC.

Community

While the scope of work was centered around building a dedicated space for the ACM, the Amesbury community was always at the forefront of the teams’ minds. As stated by the ACM, the focus of the project was to build a community inspired by those a part of the city’s history. Through a number of programs, including interactive family workshops, lectures, demonstrations, school programs, the IHC will establish a new meeting place for visitors, along with providing opportunities to present and spotlight Amesbury’s rich history and cultural heritage.

BLB Custom Building would like to extend our thanks to all of the vendors, suppliers, subcontractors, and team members for their hard work and dedication to the project. Additionally, we send our many thanks to the architects who designed the space with the community in mind. Lastly, we thank John Mayer, Executive Director of the Amesbury Carriage Museum, and Thomas Pendergast, Chair of the Building Commission, for working so closely with us throughout the project and for dedicating your time towards the success of the IHC.

While construction projects can be stressful (especially during a pandemic!), we close this chapter fulfilled and excited knowing the Amesbury Carriage Museum, along with the Amesbury community, has a new place to call home.