BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - It’s been a part of Kern County history for about 100 years and this week it is getting an upgrade. The Heller costume house has been on the property for about 50 years. And the Lowe’s local heroes program gave a grant to the museum for this year’s renovation project. “In four days we’re gonna have a 100-year-old house turn into a brand new house,” said Mike MCoy, the executive director of the Kern County Museum.
The Heller costume house at the Kern County Museum is getting a fresh coat of paint, new cabinets, and updated floors for the first time in 50 years. “It used to be a caretaker’s cottage, so now it has our sewing room, all of our storage for costumes, and it had really fallen into bad repair,” said McCoy.
Employees from the Lowe’s located on Rosedale volunteered to update this piece of history through the Lowe’s Local Heroes program. The Local Heroes program began ten years ago and encourages employees to improve local non-profits or schools in the communities they serve. “This is what Kern County is all about and Lowe’s is a unique corporation they give back to the community,” said McCoy.
And for Lowe’s assistant manager, Petra Gonzalez, she was happy to lend a helping hand. “We work and live in this community, so it’s important for us to show that Lowe’s supports Bakersfield,” said Gonzalez.
The Kern County Museum sent in a proposal to get the grant, worth more than 30,000 dollars, from the local Lowe’s. Then about 35 employees were put to work Tuesday to improve the costume house while making sure the historical features are intact. “This is our history, so it’s really important to us that they not only represent our history, but they stay safe, they stay clean, and that we put our best forward as a county with our history,” said McCoy.
“Trying to keep it exact as far as using the same hinges, and making sure that the paint looks fantastic, just keeping it preserved for everybody else,” said Gonzalez. Preserving it for those who have come to visit before and those experiencing it for the first time. “It’s also a piece of my history, I came here as a child, I brought my kids here and just being here today, there’s children all around us taking tours,” said Gonzalez.
The Heller house is expected to be finished tomorrow afternoon. The next projects on the museum’s list are the Volunteer Center and the Undertaker Parlor.