The Masonic Building is located at the key intersection of Bank Square in the heart of Eastport, Maine’s small downtown. In 1982, the building, along with 29 others in the town, were designated by the National Register of Historic Places as contributing buildings to Eastport’s Historic District. The Masonic Building was built in 1887 and designed by Boston and Saint John, New Brunswick architect, Henry Black. In the spring of 2019, the front of the Masonic Building was on the verge of outright collapse due to a severely compromised 50-foot wooden structural beam between the first and second floors. Fortunately, TIMA was able to purchase the building at this time and immediately replace the wooden structural beam with a steel beam. The ground level storefronts, which also were severely compromised, have also now been completely rebuilt as has half of the deteriorated ground level floor.
At the second floor, the historic Masonic Hall will be restored to allow TIMA to expand its exhibition space to better share its remarkable and diverse cultural collections that reflect the area’s rich cultural legacy. Museum support spaces are carefully incorporated at this level to fit within the original layout of rooms that create a unique octagonal space overlooking Eastport. The adjacent warehouse of the building will be used for TIMA’s collection storage. The project will add a new elevator at the intersection of the main building and the adjacent warehouse, improving the accessibility for both visitors and art movement. A new opening at this intersection will allow a direct interior connection from the main building’s Water Street entrance to the warehouse entrance on Dana, allowing museum visitors a unique glimpse into the new visible collections storage space before ascending the historic stair to the second floor exhibition space. The project also includes a new fire suppressant sprinkler system, heating system and loading dock.