WILTON — The Western Maine Play Museum has received a $150,000 pledge from the family of Bill and Irene Berry, through their Sandy River Charitable Foundation, for renovation of the museum’s Main Street home.

As part of the conditions of the pledge, the museum has to raise $350,000 of the $500,000 needed for the renovation, Lori Lewis, museum vice president, said.

The group has about $100,000 on hand and will raise the rest through cash, pledges and in-kind donations, she said.

The museum board hopes to open the museum this year, she said.

A direct mailing of 3,000 letters will soon go to area households, she said.

The museum is also launching an appeal to the “10,000 Families” in Western Maine who may benefit from this community resource for young children.

“WMPM has received encouraging support from some major donors; however the families of average means are perhaps the most critical factor in the museum’s success,” she said.

There are about 7,500 families in Franklin County, 15,000 in Oxford County, 14,000 in Somerset County and 27,000 in Androscoggin County, for a total of 63,000, based on recent census data, she said in a release.

“If only a small percentage of these working families make a one-time donation of $25, or more if they can, the $250,000 the museum hopes to raise with this appeal would allow them to begin reconstruction work on the building,” she said.

Contributions can be made through the museum website at www.westernmaineplay.org or mailed directly to the museum, WMPM, P.O. Box 1161, Wilton, ME 04294.

Pledges are also welcome, she said. Families, who want to support the museum but need to wait on donating or do it in intervals over time, can do so.

For more information, contact Lewis at 207-645-3945.


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