When Charles Chase donated the property to the Borough of Collingswood for use as a museum and educational center, he clearly intended that all who wished could visit. Unfortunately, the house can only be entered by climbing steps. Several years ago, the trustees of the Collings-Knight House made a commitment to resolve the problem of barrier-free access at the house.
The Challenge: According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, public places are required to provide access for all persons. As a historic structure open to the public, the Collings-Knight House is required to make an effort to comply with the ADA, but not in any way that compromises the historic structure. The board arrived at an elegant solution: replacing the missing kitchen shed across the back of the house to provide access and other much-needed amenities.
The Solution: The Friends applied for, and won, a planning grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust for an update to the 1988 Preservation Plan that would include a solution to the accessibility problem. Kitchen and Associates Architectural Services of Collingswood was engaged to design the replacement shed. Their task: to fit barrier-free access, restroom facilities and equipment storage into the space formerly occupied by the 10 x 29 foot kitchen shed. Their design, approved by the board in 2004, would provide a wheelchair lift, an accessible restroom, a display area for our numerous artifacts, and storage for all the “modern” equipment we need for programs but don’t want distracting visitors touring the house.
The Plan: The architectural drawings are finished, and we have a construction estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. This addition will require a capital campaign involving a variety of grants and fundraising activities. The trustees plan to engage many levels of support, including our local community, county and state, corporations and private foundations to achieve this goal. We are very proud of this commitment, and trust that we will receive the necessary support.
How you can help
Visit us! Our first request is for your support of our programs and activities. Tour the house and see how far the restoration effort has come, or come out for an informative and entertaining program. Please see our calendar of planned events.
Join us! Become a member at any level of support. All membership fees go toward general operating expenses, programming and restoration. Although most of our family hails from southern New Jersey, we have members from New York to North Carolina. Their continued support tells us that we are providing an important service, and that we’re on the right rack. Please navigate to our membership page.
Help us! We have opportunities for you to pitch in, no matter what your talents or interests - housekeeping, hospitality, teaching, gardening and sewing – check our “Opportunities” page for more information on how to get involved.
Consider a gift to our building and restoration fund! Think of it as an investment in the community, and in the future. We are a New Jersey non-profit organization, so all gifts are fully tax-deductible. 100% of your gift goes toward the access addition or our remaining restoration projects, whichever you designate.