The Lucas County Historical Society Museum opened for the season Tuesday, a month earlier than has been the practice in the past, with Martha Milnes as the first volunteer attendant of the year. I wish I'd carried a camera back after lunch, rather than in the evening when these shots were taken during a quick walkabout.
Martha, now in her 90s, has been helping out at the museum in one capacity or another for as long as there's been a museum.
From now on, we'll be open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily Tuesday through Saturday until Sept. 30. Admission, as always, is free --- but you're welcome to drop something in the "donations" jar if you feel so inclined. Kathleen Dittmer will be greeting guests as usual, with volunteer assistants.
Be a little patient during the first week, however --- it's turning out to be exceptionally busy.
The electricians left at noon yesterday after wrapping up a three-week rewiring project in the Stephens House, bringing that vintage building up to code for the first time --- ever (thanks to a matching grant from the South Central Iowa Community Foundation). Gone are bare bulbs in obscure corners that have been dangling from exposed wires since 1911; rotary switches that no longer worked very well; and mystery wiring that must have served a purpose at some point in the past.
Porch lights front and back --- removed for some reason before the historical society acquired the building back in the mid-1960s --- are back; and all the vintage light fixtures, some quite elaborate, are working again.
Now the dust covers have to come off the soft furniture and some cleaning is in order, although the electricians were remarkably good about cleaning up after themselves.
Today is city-wide cleanup day, so we're expecting a crew of high school students early this morning. Kay has gardening tasks lined up, then we'll put them to work in the barn, Swanson machine shed gallery and blacksmith shop.
On Thursday, some 80 second-graders will march over from Columbus School to spend the morning with us --- activities in all of the buildings followed by sack lunches on the grounds (thank goodness, the weather cleared up).
And on Friday, a tour group from Mosaic will be here over the noon hour.
We have new paving this season in the parking area east of the Lewis Building, thanks to a Coons Foundation gift, and will be working on the Otterbein Church forecourt, sidewalks and ramps a little later. Polish is being applied to the totally renovated Vredenburg Gallery and Irene Garton Memorial Library --- thanks to a Vredenburg Foundation grant.
So stop in for a visit when you're able. We might even leave a porch light on for you --- just because we can.