The Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center and Museum is a gallery and museum space that also serves as the home for the Historical Society. Photo by Dean-Paul Stephens.

Officials kicked off plans for a 12,000-square-foot addition to the Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center and Museum during a Wednesday groundbreaking ceremony.  

Developers, historical society members and residents converged on the lawn behind the museum where construction on the addition will begin in May, according to developer James Deskins. 

“We’re excited to be a part of this project. … We’re honored to be a part of it,” Deskins said, adding that he hoped to form a relationship with the community during the project’s yearlong construction phase. 

Located at 1 Main St. in Martinsville, the Heritage Center and Museum is also known as the Historic Courthouse by members of the Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society and the public. The building is a gallery and museum space and serves as the home for the Historical Society.

The project is expected to cost between $2 million and $4 million. 

From left: John Phillips, president of the board of the Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society, and donors Virginia and Mervyn King ceremonially break ground on the expansion of the Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center and Museum. Photo by Dean-Paul Stephens.

Dr. Mervyn King — who with his wife, Virginia King, are the primary donors to the project — gave details about the addition, saying that it will largely serve as additional exhibition space. It will also provide more storage space and a meeting room.

“We can always use a bit more,” King said. 

The Kings have been involved with similar historical societies in cities including High Point, North Carolina. They said that funding projects like the proposed expansion are always worthwhile, and Mervyn King said he is particularly excited to work on Martinsville’s museum. 

“I wanted … a lasting history [of the city],” he said, adding that museums have the potential to be self-sustaining. “The more you have to see, the more people will come.” 

Dean-Paul Stephens is a reporter for Cardinal News. He is based in Martinsville. Reach him at dean@cardinalnews.org...