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Historical Society looks towards the future

Posted: Tuesday, Jan 15th, 2013

The new 10x40 foot storage room at the Historical Society is packed with old artifacts that will make their way back to the showroom floor once construction is complete.

By Billy Stitz

Although the purpose of the Moody County Historical Society is to look to the past and document everything from family genealogy to company bank records, the Museum has their sights set on the future.

Early in 2012, the Historical Society embarked on a $300,000 Capital Campaign in order to complete a three-phase renovation project to the Museum building. Fast forward to today, and the Museum is about two-thirds the way to their goal.

Phase one, which is now completed, involved an addition to the Depot. Phase two and three are where the bulk of the work will come in.

Phase two has gotten underway with the addition of a 10x40 foot storage room on the south side of the west room. In addition to the storage room, the Museum also gave their north wall a facelift. A new insulated double door now sits where there had previously been a garage door.

Now that that part is complete, they will add a cement slab outside between the west room and the outside storage shed, making it easier to transfer the display cases between buildings. Since they cannot lay cement while there is snow on the ground, they will work on adding casters to the bottoms of several of the heavy display cases to make them easier to transport.

There are still several steps to be done before phase two can be complete, including rearranging the floor displays to make it roomier for shows and guests. The office area will be moved from the east side to the west, and a few walls will be taken down in order to give the room more of an open concept.

The Museum will also be redoing the electrical work inside the building as well as remodeling the bathrooms to get them up to ADA standards.

They hope to have phase two completed in the early months of 2013 so that they can get phase three under way before the tourist season opens up.

Phase three involves a lot more construction than the previous two phases. The Museum will look to add an enclosed porch style entrance on the south side, as well as re-roof the entire building and storage shed.

To make the building have a bit more of a Museum feel, they will be looking to replace the existing fluorescent lights, which are harsh on the old papers and clothes, with newer track lighting.

The Museum has had tremendous support from the City of Flandreau and Moody County, as well as First National Bank, who have combined to donated over $50,000 to the project.

They will be looking to raise the remainder of the money shortly through a mailing program. The Historical Society has already done two mailing programs and hopes to contact more local contributors with their third one.

Donors to the Museumís Capital Campaign can make contribution IN MEMORY OF or IN HONOR OF family members, relatives or friends by making a donation of $1,000 or more. A special plaque will be placed in the Museum with the names of those so honored.

The Museum staff and volunteers are working on other projects in addition to the Capital Campaign. To improve the research capabilities, the Museum purchased, in October, a digital microfilm reader to replace their old one that had met its fait. The new reader allows users to enhance and brighten the image allowing microfilm that had otherwise been too dark and blurry to be viewed. A DAR grant allowed the Museum to add 30 rolls of microfilm of the Colman Argus, Egan Express, Flandreau Herald and the Moody County Enterprise to the collection.

The records from the County Superintendent of Schools office are being indexed as part of the COUNTRY SCHOOL PROJECT to locate and preserve the history, memories and photographs of each of the 73 rural schools in Moody County. Additional projects and programs will be developed when the remodeling is completed.

If you wish to donate to the Capital Campaign, send your contributions to PO Box 25, Flandreau, SD 57028 or contact the Museum at (605) 997- 3191. Hours are Tuesday-Friday 11-4 and Saturday 10-3.

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