New things are in store this summer at Marion Historical Museum next to Central Park.
Peggy Blackman, a 44-year Marion resident, was recently hired to take the helm at the museum, situated on Main St. in a historic Baptist church.
Blackman, Marion’s first woman mayor, is a longtime community volunteer who has worn many hats, including serving as statewide PRIDE chair and president of Kansas League of Municipalities.
Pam Varenhorst, president of the museum board, said previous director Cynthia Blount did an outstanding job with a small group of volunteers. Finding more volunteers will be one of Blackman’s duties.
Upgrading and digitizing archives and adding software for genealogical research will be priorities to enable on-site genealogical research.
“We want to network with other communities and work with the city to promote local tourism,” Varenhorst said.
Blackman will develop partnerships with schools, community organizations, and regional museums.
Home tours may be one way of working cooperatively. Displays will be rotated so the museum is a fresh experience for people who have visited before.
Fundraising is a new priority as well. Blackman thinks her experience in grant writing will help.
Summer hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Admission is by donation. More information is available at (620) 382-9134.
Other museums in the county.
- Burns Community Museum is housed in a historic school. Summer hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum in Goessel, an eight-building campus, exhibits the history of Mennonite immigrants who arrived in the 1870s. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily May through September. Admission is $4 for ages 13 and older, and $2 for ages 7-12.
- Mennonite Settlement Museum in Hillsboro highlights the lives of early Mennonite immigrants. Also available for viewing in Hillsboro is Schaeffler House, the 1909 home of a prosperous family. Neither museum is staffed on a regular basis. Reservations are accepted at (620) 947-3162. Admission for each museum is $5 for adults and $3 for students.
- Peabody offers three museums. Peabody Historical Museum was the original site of the first free library in the state. Morgan House was the home of the first editor of the Peabody Gazette, W. H. Morgan. Peabody Printing Museum houses a collection of working presses, newspaper printing equipment and memorabilia. Reservations are accepted at (620)982-2512.
- The parsonage of St. John Nepomucene Church in Pilsen houses the Father Emil J. Kapaun Museum. Ordained in 1940, Kapaun was an Army chaplain who served in India and Burma before being sent to Korea in 1950. He died in a North Korea prison camp and was posthumously awarded a Medal of Honor. Museum tours can be arranged by calling the church office at (620) 382-3369.
- A small museum at Marion County Lake, housed in the former laundry facility of the depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps camp that built the lake contains camp and lake memorabilia.