Although we remain closed to the public at this time, due to COVID-19 concerns, our big news is that last Thursday concrete was poured between the museum and the Treasure House, making it easier to go between the two buildings without worries of stepping in mud or a rut. The concrete extends right up to Main Street, making a smooth transition from the road, as well. We will mark three spots on the concrete for parking, otherwise it is an area to be left clear to drive through to the rear parking lot. Then, last Friday, gravel was brought in and David Shocklee drove his tractor from Island to the museum, so he could spread the gravel throughout the back parking area and the lane. Thanks, David, and thanks, also to Dwight Shocklee, for being the escort behind David’s tractor on Hwy 138 and in Calhoun, so no one would bump into him! We appreciate you both jumping in, at a moment’s notice, to help out the museum.
Alas, the Grand Opening originally planned for April 18 at the museum, will be added to the list of postponed events in the area. I’ll let you know when we reset the date — hopefully not too far down the road.
When we moved into the museum addition, we changed internet providers. After some delays, our emails are now up and running, so I have begun emailing McLean County History Museum members who have provided us an email address. I can be reached at Treasurer@mcleancountykymuseum.org. If you need to reach the Director of the Museum, Tim Sheppard, his email is Director@mcleancountykymuseum.org, or you can call the museum at 270-499-5033.
Although we are closed, we still keep busy behind the scenes. Tim works on anything technical and anything physical, so he takes care of the computers and security system, pressure washes, mows, etc. Curator Anita Austill seems to outwork us all, as she continues to accession every item in the museum, and all of the research materials, so that we have a full listing of every single item on the premises. She is a wealth of knowledge about the area. I’m always amazed that she knows so much about our county and the history of the people in it. Anita also arranges everything in the museum, and as I’ve said before, I think she does a great job. When she is not working at the museum she is out taking photographs of headstones, which she uploads to the Find a Grave website. She has photographed pretty much all of the cemeteries in several neighboring Kentucky counties, and has uploaded over 70,000 photos to Find a Grave! That site gives us so much info when we do research for our family trees. I met her online through Find a Grave, and when I met her in person a few years later, it was like meeting a rock star! I truly wish I had her energy. I am an Ancestry.com nerd. I have done genealogy research for over 20 years, and love a challenge in that area. So I do spend time researching this and that, and of course, I now, also, do this weekly column.
While I was at the museum last Friday I got a call asking about a news article from 1951. We have a subscription to Newspapers.com, and can bring up an amazing number of articles from the local area, but not every year of the McLean County News is available on that website, such as most of the 1940s and 1950s, as well as 2000 through 2010. We do, however, have most of those editions in the Artifacts Room of the museum, and we can help you in your search for articles. In this case, I was happy to be able to help the caller by finding the article she sought. Remember that in addition to this resource, we have a lot of information on different local family surnames, plenty of info on McLean County history, as well as that of surrounding counties, and access to Ancestry.com, in order to help you research your family tree.
We are pleased to have had so much work done in the past couple of years, what with the museum addition completed, and now the concrete and gravel work done. Some projects still needing completion include repairing some siding issues, signage for the museum, and painting outside the Treasure House. The Treasure House also needs a storage area and a small restroom added on, as the dedicated volunteers who work there have had to walk to the museum, for nearly two decades, to use the restroom! That’s dedication! The McLean County History Museum is where it is now because of the wonderful donors and volunteers throughout the past 20 years. It has truly been a team effort.
For those who would like to donate to the cause, membership dues, as well as donations to the building fund and/or operating fund are tax-deductible and help us to make necessary repairs, pay the bills and keep the doors open. Membership is just $20 per individual, $25 per non-profit group, and $50 per business, per calendar year. The McLean County History Museum is a 501©(3) non-profit organization. Our address is McLean County History Museum, PO Box 291, Calhoun KY 42327. To reach us, please call 270-499-5033. You can leave a message, and we will check periodically, during this period of closure, and get back with you just as soon as we can. Take care, and