Administrator's Quarterly Report -- August 2012
It's been a long hot summer in Ray County but our Ray County Museum has stayed cool and had a great summer. We had a steady flow of people all summer long and many local people came to the museum and enjoy the cool inside while it was hot outside.
We've had many new projects to work on over the past few months. One of my favorite was getting to know the people of Stet while we moved some of their school items to the museum. We now have a 1950s style science lab.We also got trophies, yearbooks and the team mascot Cardinal to add to our collection. We were very happy to get a large showcase from Stet that is now in our main parlor.
Another major project is the addition of 5 new 6 foot tall showcases. We need to thank Bruce and Susan Adams for donating the showcases. We also need to thank the Ray County Commission for arranging to have the Ray County Road District move the showcases from downtown Richmond to the museum. I'm having a wonderful time finding items to fill up these new showcases.
We've been rearranging several rooms over to allow for the addition of a few new collections. We are adding a Wild West Room, a Vietnam/Korean War Room and we are still working on the Alexander Doniphan Room. Soon to follow is a totally fun room for the kids of Ray County, which will house my personal collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It will be off the beaten path and will be on display for kids of all ages that have enjoyed these cartoon characters over the past 25 years .History is history and we try to make it fun for everyone that comes to enjoy our Museum.
David Blyth and Steve Roush spend every Thursday afternoon at the museum working on handi man projects. They are getting very close to completing a new special event room in the museum basement. It would already be done if I hadn't collected so many cool things from the Stet School, so I must thank these two guys for putting up with me and the Stet collection over the summer. We were able to share a rather large selection of school supplies from Stet with many teachers of Ray County via the collection we set up in our basement.
I'm very please to announce we now have a showcase in the lobby of the Ray County Courthouse. The first month we had a display about politicians of the past. For the month of September we have a display of the Veterans of Ray County. Please stop by and check it out the next time you are in the courthouse.
We are now planning our upcoming Veteran's Day Picnic that is scheduled for Saturday Sept 29. We hope to see many of our Ray County veterans and their families at this yearly special event.
We're always glad to share our history with anyone that has a little time to come visit the Ray County Museum. Our motto is, "We always have fun on the hill." , so come see for yourself how much fun it is to relive our past
2012 Annual Report
It's been a busy year at the Ray County Museum. We started the year off with Alexander Doniphan as a guest at our annual dinner in January. Troy Milsap of Liberty was wonderful in his portrayal of Doniphan. This was also a very eventful evening for me personally because I had the honor of being elected to serve on the Historical Society Board. When the Museum needed someone to man the phone and keep the doors open in March, I offered to fill in as a volunteer. Little did I know at that time, that I would still be the Museum "greeter" 10 months later. After 28 hectic years working in the airline business, I feel like I finally know what I want to be when I grow up. I have always enjoyed history and hosting the Ray County Museum is a perfect way to share my love of our colorful local history.
Please allow me to share some of the highlights from this past year. David Blyth was elected our board president in January and every Thursday afternoon he comes to the museum to work on our next project. The first project was the renovation of the main parlor. With the help of other board members, Mac Proffit and Terry McWilliams, this was soon finished and it was time to move on to the new coal mine room. David brought along Steve Roush from Lawson and now Steve is hooked on our Thursday afternoon work fests. They have finished the coal mine room and started a rail road room, a new doctor's room and are making plans for our new addition of an Alexander Doniphan room. They also assisted Ethan Turner with his Eagle Scout project of restoring our Theater room in the museum basement.
Another highlight of the year was our Travel Through Time bus tours. We hosted two successful tours, once of which included a birthday party of Alexander Doniphan. We are planning on making his birthday party an annual event and are planning more bus tours in the spring.
In June we hosted our annual Ice Cream Social to the largest crowd yet. It was a nice relaxing fun day for everyone. It has been our goal to host one special event at the museum each month. One of my favorites was our Halloween party where we had a civil war re-enactor, Tic Tac in his Irish Brigade uniform. The children got to have their picture taken with him and the adults got to fire a real civil war rifle in the front yard of the museum. There was lots of smoke and a big bang, but since we were using re-enactor style ammo, peace was kept on the hill.
The museum received some wonderful donations in 2011 one of which was the uniforms of Richmond's own two star general, Jerry Harrison. Jerry flew in from Washington D.C. to be the guest speaker at our annual Veteran's picnic in Sept. The weather was perfect and we had a big crowd. We also need to thank the Allen Morton chapter of DAR and the Ray County Genealogical Society for sponsoring a meet and greet for Jerry before the picnic.
Another special moment came when we were featured in the K.C. Star's top ten list of Civil War items in Kansas City area museums. The Star editor was impressed with our civil war collection, but our prize winning item was a envelope that has a picture of Jefferson Davis on the cover. It's a very rare piece of ephemera that has found a permanent home at our museum.
I've enjoyed the use of our Museum's Genealogical Library for many years and now I'm happy to be able to assist with projects for the museum in a larger capacity. We have many plans for the new year and we are looking forward to having the best year yet for our hometown museum, Ray County's best kept secret..