Peabody Museum getting gussied up for future tourists
Members of Peabody Historical Society have spent a morning a week since June sorting through Peabody memorabilia and historic items in Peabody’s museum. Society members are packing up all the acquisitions in an effort to get ready for the first serious upgrades to the facility since the building was moved to its present location in 1961.
“The Marion County Historical Society has been working to get all county museums back to having regular hours of operation and cooperative promotions that will encourage visitors to investigate history in more than one community when they are here,” longtime board member Carmen South said. “When we started talking about being a part of that project we realized there were some issues we really needed to address.
“We had no air conditioning and summer afternoons in the museum were brutal. Since summer has always been the prime time for tourists, we decided we really needed to make the building more comfortable before we tried to establish regular hours of operation. We also had peeling wall paper, probably the original paper installed more than 50 years ago. The lighting is old and inefficient and our displays were hard to see.”
Board members realized that to bringing workmen in to do the kind of work the museum needed, museum contents would first need to be packed up and protected. “We knew we couldn’t just drape a tarp over everything and hope for the best,” South said.
The group had a central air unit installed two weeks ago. A painter has been hired and new colors are being selected for the walls and the background surfaces of built-in display units. The board will select more efficient lighting systems for displays as well as ceiling fixtures.
“We would also like to make our inventory system more efficient so that if a family comes in looking for information or pictures of their ancestors, we can find it quickly,” South said. “That will be a long-term project, but it will need to be done if we are going to share what is here. There are some wonderful donations and family histories available, but we need to provide access to them so they can be appreciated. We know it will take more than just an extension cord to keep us hooked to the technology that people expect.”
The board will be raising funds for these projects on Election Day in the basement of Peabody Methodist Church, serving homemade cinnamon rolls and homemade soups, chili dogs, and pies to voters after they cast ballots upstairs.
They will begin serving cinnamon rolls at 9:30 a.m. and soups and pies at 11 a.m. Cost will be by donation and proceeds will be used for building upgrades.
“Our only source of revenue is from fund raisers like this and donations from generous Peabody residents and former residents who appreciate preserving Peabody’s history,” South said. “We hope everyone will watch for progress updates as we tackle the first major renovation since the First Free Library in the state of Kansas became the Peabody Museum. We are excited about the possibilities and hope to have lots of traffic through the museum when it is complete.”
Last modified Nov. 1, 2017