Wednesday, August 18, 2010

LCHS Mid-August Update

The newest additions at the Lucas County Historical Society are technological: a camcorder, printer/scanner, laptop computer and digital projection equipment that will be utlilized for our new Living History Project. Read on for more information.

If you do not live in Lucas County all you need to know about conditions here is that it’s been wet and continues to be. And hot! But the sun is shining today and it’s not that hot, so perhaps things are looking up. None of our roofs are leaking and all of our foundations are firm so there’s much to be grateful for.

Excessive rain and the resulting mud have slowed progress on several Lucas County Historical Society projects. A couple of dry days have allowed board members to begin the task of painting the windmill before it is lifted into place and bolted down, so we’re hopeful that project will be completed fairly soon. Other than that, it has been reassembled and is ready to go.

Progress on the blacksmith shop has slowed and it now seems fairly certain that the latest building on the museum campus will not be opened officially until next year. The big problem has been finding a sufficient number of consecutive dry days needed to install a drainage system around the building. That has now been completed. The next goal is to install an authentic floor in the shop portion of the building (its north end will be reserved for storage and as a workshop and that part of the building has a cement slab floor). But the drainage system had to come first. Now, we’re hoping, work on the interior of the building can begin.


The next big event on the museum campus will be the Chariton Historic Preservation Commission’s annual cemetery tour on Sunday, Sept. 12. The museum will serve as starting point for the tour which, since it focuses on educators this year, will give us a chance to put into active use Puckerbrush School and our extensive collection of school-related documents and memorabilia. Of special interest will be several items in the collection related to two women featured on the tour, Alma Clay and Hortense Guernsey Becker.

There is a charge for the tour, which includes a bus ride to and from the cemetery with stops at the graves of those featured where presenters will be stationed as well as refreshments in the Lewis Building. All proceeds will go to fund the work of the commission. As it stands now, only the Lewis Building and the school will be open that day.

If you’ve never participated in one of these tours (or enjoyed tours in years past), mark Sept. 12 on your calendar. We’ll send along more information as the event draws nearer. Hours will be 4-6 p.m.


There definitely will be a fall museum-sponsored event, but the weather has disrupted plans made in the spring for a blacksmith grand opening and corn-husking event in late September. It now seems likely our fall program will be held in mid-October and may be entirely at the ISU McNay Research Farm southwest of town --- depending on the state of corn planted specifically for this event and plagued by constant rain. We’ll keep you posted as plans develop.


The big news at the museum this month involves equipment purchased with South Central Iowa Community Foundation grant funds for the Lucas County Historical Society’s Living History Project. The equipment includes a camcorder to record history as it happens as well as interviews with Lucas Countyans who have stories about our past to tell, a scanner-printer that will be used to begin the work of digitalizing some of the documents in our collection so that they will be more accessible and more easily shared, a laptop computer that will become the home base for this project and digital projection equipment that will be used for programs at the museum or, when invited, on the road.

We’re engaged now in the fairly steep learning curve involved in figuring out how all of this technology works and will begin developing soon specific goals and procedures for the project. It is something entirely new for your historical society and we hope you’ll be as excited about it as we are. You’ll be hearing more about the project as time passes. Input, ideas and volunteer project workers all would be welcomed!


Just a reminder that the museum’s official “season” continues through the end of September. Hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays (although tours at other times certainly can be arranged) and admission is free. We’d be delighted to see you and to show you around!

Keep in mind, too, that even through the museum has a “season” it is by no means closed and put into mothballs when the season ends. The Lewis Building and its galleries as well as the Stephens house are heated and fully maintained during the off-season and if you call ahead, send us an e-mail or manage to find a volunteer at work we’ll be glad to arrange a tour. The only reservation involves weather. The barn, church, school and log cabin are not heated during the winter and snow and ice sometimes block access to them.

Work with the collection and on the museum campus buildings continues year-around, and that sometimes involves moving items around and minimal disruption of the usual order --- but it is your museum and you’re always welcome here.

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