Thirty years ago the Sun Cities Area Historical Society purchased one of the first homes ever built in Sun City and 10 years ago turned it into the Del Webb Sun Cities Museum.
The house, which has remained in pretty much the same condition as it was when it first opened to the public Jan. 1, 1960, is now about to undergo a major transformation. Historical society officials last week broke ground on a project that will expand the facility to provide additional space for exhibits and an enlarged meeting room.
The expansion, which involves construction of an entirely new building behind the current museum, is made possible by an $80,000 grant donated by the Del E. Webb Foundation.
Work is expected to be completed by the end of summer, with an official opening slated for this fall.
The Del Webb Sun Cities Museum, 10801 W. Oakmont Drive, Sun City, in its original role was one of five model homes originally built in Sun City and unveiled when the community first opened in 1960.
Desert Legacy Construction Company will begin construction in April.
The current museum consists of 1,675 square feet, not counting a carport and back porch. The approximately 700-square-foot new building will replace the back porch and encompass much of the current back yard. A walkway will connect the new building to the existing facility.
Building construction is expected to cost $115,000. The museum is launching a fundraising campaign to cover added costs of interior design, as well as new exhibits, supplies and physical upgrades to the existing building.
The museum’s Board of Trustees is hoping to generate $100,000 during the 2019 fund campaign.
“The museum plays an important role in promoting the history of the Sun Cities, and we’re confident our community will step up to generously support our efforts,” said Don Tuffs, SCAHS board president.
The Sun Cities Area Historical Society was organized in 1986 as part of the 25th anniversary of Sun City. Its mission is to preserve, protect and promote the history of Sun City and Sun City West.
The organization purchased the building in 1989. The home, now the Del Webb Sun Cities Museum and Research Center, has been restored to its original condition and features exhibits and artifacts showcasing the history of the Sun Cities.
The nonprofit organization is directed by a volunteer board of trustees and operated by volunteer docents and guides. Operating funds are derived primarily by membership dues, donations and fundraising activities.
Call 623-974-2568 to contribute to the museum or to learn more about becoming a museum sponsor.
Based in Prescott, the Del E. Webb Foundation honors the memory of Del E. Webb, the creator and developer of the Sun Cities. The nonprofit organization supports results-based programs that impact society and focuses primarily on child and health initiatives.