Don't miss out on the free bus ride and field trip out to Balanced Rock on June 1. We will meet at museum at 10 am and go to Balanced Rock park. We have the Pavilion reserved for the speakers and later will hike up to the rock. You don't have to do the hike and you are welcome to follow in your own vehicle. Learn about the Castleford area, Toana Road, and other interesting facts about the community.
Volunteers are working on getting things ready for Saturday "history day". We will have to see what the weather looks like and may have to adjust our schedule, but will still have plenty going on.
Admission is free so you can't beat that!
Ruth Hume sent some pretty cool pictures to the museum. This one is from 1923 and features her parents, an aunt and uncle and some of their friends at a place labeled "Hot Town" near Murtaugh. Possibly Artesian City as the "well" is similar to a Bisbee photo of that area.
Often people come to visit the museum and expect that things have not changed in the 50 years that it has been operated by the Twin Falls County Historical Society. In the beginning, interested individuals donated items and volunteered their time to open the doors. After finding old scrapbooks, it was found that the Historical Society was very active, putting up signs, hosting field trips and events, and Gus Kelker wrote a column for the newspaper that appeared nearly every week. Mr. Kelker was on the board and heavily involved with the historical society so his column was a great asset to the museum. As time went on, many members grew old, moved away or passed on and interest in the museum grew a little stagnant.
About 20 years ago, Chris and Tama Bolton were the administrators at the museum. The Bolton's undertook a number of projects that greatly improved not only the museum, but the reputation of the Historical Society. Chris published several spiral bound books on many subjects that are still pertinent today. Apparently Chris moved on due to health reasons and in the following years administrators and directors came and went.
The Historical Society board of directors currently consists of six members, but there have been as many as ten to twelve at a time. Directors are chosen by the membership at the annual meeting in the fall. Memberships are purchased for as little as $15 annually for individuals. You must be a member in good standing for at least one year and volunteer at the museum for that length of time, (and, no, volunteering to be on the board doesn't count.)
How many former directors and administrators are there? A lot.
Who is responsible for the museum's success? Depends on who you ask.
How have things changed recently? Glad you asked! The current board and administration is dedicated to keeping the museum a viable part of the community. By cooperating with the county commissioners and parks department, the grounds have been vastly improved and curb appeal has increased. We are open year around and keep regularly scheduled hours. Each board member has a specific role and the administrator is responsible to the board of directors. Ego's and agenda's are left at the door. We have projects, events and field trips that take place throughout the year and a newsletter for members, informing them of upcoming events. Former Union School students are still interested in their alma mater and are supportive of keeping the building and grounds as a museum.
How can I help? Contact the museum at (208) 736-4675 if you have questions. To volunteer, you have to appear in person and fill out an application. You are able to choose what projects you'd like to help with and the amount of time you are able to commit. You can help out for one day, one project or a number of hours per week for a specific duty.
Hopefully this has answered a few of your questions and feel free to make suggestions or comments on the post.
The historical society had been a part of the past two Magic Valley Memories books, but unfortunately, the Times News chose not to include us in latest book. We receive numerous donations of local photographs and are happy to accept these donations. The photos are scanned and turned into slideshows that play on our digital frames and computers.
Recently Tara Fiscus brought in some photos that include her father, Johnny Meyers, who did the first restoration work on the Perrine Stagecoach. Dick Tucker donated a photo of boys that graduated from Union School in 1943. (Their teacher took them to the Rogerson Hotel for a celebration dinner.)
Darrell Buffaloe will be here to present his Railroad History program on Saturday, March 23. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.
We have a few new articles that were donated today, including two pairs of goggles, house jack, weed wacker (the manual kind), and several other things. Thanks to Don McEwen for bringing them in.
Dick Tucker and Tara Fiscus donated some photographs that are scanned and will be put on a slideshow for viewing.
April 20th is history day and we are looking for interested parties that would like to help with demonstrations or races. We have the weavers and spinners coming back this year as well as Steve Slifer with his cobbler tools, Virginia Tucker with the hand cranked sewing machine, the button club, as well as other exhibits and presentations. Call us if you would like to be a part of any event or a general volunteer.
A few days ago a nice gentleman stopped by the museum with a letter he had written to the board and administrator (me). Howard spent a lot of time composing said missive and I would like for him to know how nice it is to get input from the community. He had some constructive criticism and interesting points to make. This is the 5th year I have worked here at the museum and often, I forget how the public perceives us. I have the "insiders" viewpoint and know what we are working on and what we think needs to be done, but can be rather blind as to whether our efforts are a success or need some adjustment.
This is the first winter we have "officially" been open all winter for quite a long time. The heating system has been repaired and now it is comfortable enough to bring in speakers for Saturday programs. Our field trips have been well received and more promotion has helped boost membership in the Historical Society. Several local foundations have granted us funds to revamp the metal building, digitize maps and newspapers, sponsor field trips, restore windows and work on other programs.
Without input from the community, organizations can stagnate. The current board of directors represent a broad range of general interests and ages. We appreciate those of you that are willing to tell us what you would like to see us do, what you think we are getting right or what needs improvement.
Kimberly Williams Brackett will be at the museum to discuss her book "Keepers of the Record". Starts at 1 o'clock and feel free to ask questions. Kimberly will be available to sign her book after the presentation.
Over 60 people were at the museum to hear Shawn Willsey talk about the unique and exciting geological formations in the Magic Valley. The presentation was VERY interesting and the museum has added his book, "Geology Underfoot in Southern Idaho" to our library collection. Shawn talked about the Yellowstone Caldera, also the Bruneau and Jarbidge eruptions as well as many other details about the rimrock in the Snake River Canyon near pillar falls. The audience posed some great questions, which Shawn readily answered and explained. Many thanks to Shawn Willsey for coming to do this presentation for us.