The Harrison County Parks last Wednesday night unveiled its plan for the county museum in the old jail/archives building along North Capitol Avenue in downtown Corydon.

Dubbed the Harrison County Discovery Center, the initial layout provided by Louisville exhibit firm Solid Light includes a few changes to the exterior and a near complete interior overhaul.

The ramp and entrance on the front of the building will be removed and a new, ADA compliant ramp and entrance will be installed on the north side of the building facing Cherry Street.

Also, a window will be removed from the north side and added on the east side. An awning also will be added, along with a possible brick outcropping section of the building.

The entire project cost will be approximately $2 million.

"It's going to be a history hub," Cynthia Torp, Solid Light owner, said. "It will be a place where the public can come and get a good overview of the history of Harrison County."

Torp said the discovery center will show how special a place Harrison County is historically and visitors will learn about places they can then go out and explore.

To put all of Harrison County's history in one place is impossible, parks board member Larry Shickles said. So, the center will act as a tickler, or a hub, to entice folks onward throughout town and the county.

The blueprint shows a welcome area lobby with brochures and other items and a reception desk before visitors would make their way into the "Archivist's office" then into a room exploring the county's natural history, caves, early county history, Harrison County's role in the Civil War and then, finally, community history such as the Leora Brown School before exiting.

A large, unique cabinet currently in the building, with years and years of county history, will be incorporated into the exhibit area.

The second floor of the building will include a multipurpose area that will serve as possible rent space for a variety of events and could also include an area for traveling exhibits.

The goal of the parks department is to have the county fund half of the project ($1 million) and the Harrison County Community Foundation take care of the other half.

The parks board unanimously approved the project request.

Parks Supt. Rand Heazlitt said an ideal opening date would be this time next year, with the Indiana bicentennial celebrations occurring.

Heazlitt said very conservative figures show, with the rental space and admissions fees, the center will be able to cover at least 60 percent of its annual operation costs.

Operating costs include a full-time curator and two part-time positions.