One of the most exciting things about being a museum consultant is getting the opportunity to visit with museums of all sizes and with all different kinds of collections.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Eagle Grove Museum, which is housed in an adorable, 1903 Carnegie Library. The Museum has been mostly closed for almost thirty years–I say mostly because the bulk of the activity stopped in the early 1980s, but recently they’ve started opening the doors for a few hours in the summer.
I’ll be honest – when I walked in the door, I was excited. My contact had sent me photos of the building and the collection, so I knew just how much work we had ahead of us. Thirty years of dust, covering every kind of artifact you can imagine, can cause some collection issues. With everything on display–on shelves, in cases, all over the place–many of the volunteers simply didn’t know where or how to begin.
A century of yearbooks (with many copies of each issue) were everywhere …photos (of every size) were everywhere …newspapers were everywhere …hats and clothing and personal accessories were everywhere …you get the idea.
On top of which, the building is in desperate need of repair, which, thankfully, is currently being addressed, thanks to the increasingly active historical society and support from the town.
I have some “before” photos which were sent to me prior to my visit, and I am looking forward to taking some “after” (or, at least, “in progress”) photos the next time I visit. But that’s not really the point of this post.
Here is the point: visiting the Eagle Grove Museum (which is not yet on the web so I can’t share a link with you) reinvigorated my passion for local history and for getting into the trenches and turning an old pile of “stuff” into a well-run, properly managed collection. Stay tuned for updates as this project progresses!
*Apparently I referred to the Museum–and everything in Eagle Grove–as “adorable”. I realized that I had over-used the word when a five year old said, “you think everything is adorable.” But it is! I mean, really, the back of the building is round: