June 29, 2016 by Tammy Pearson
Take a walk through the Adair County Heritage Museum and one thing is clear — every inch of space is in use. And donations keep coming in.
After five years of talking about the need for a new building, the museum building committee broke ground June 15 for a 40’x60’ addition to the east side of the main museum.
“We are running out of room in all areas, in every building,” said Connie Scarlett, president of the Adair County Historical Society. “The addition will enable us to better display the treasures in this main museum building.”
The museum, dedicated to preserving the county’s history, is visited by many school groups and tour buses, said Scarlett. “So many people are using it as a reference and resource,” she said. They come to learn about genealogy, area cemeteries, the rural school houses that once dotted the countryside, and churches that have been active over the years, among other things.
“A lot of people want to look up grandma and grandpa’s church, or their father’s school,” said Scarlett.
Scarlett said she is saddened that so many area residents are unaware or unappreciative of all the museum has to offer.
“This museum is Adair County’s museum. It belongs to all the residents,” she said. “I’ve been on the board for five years and it’s appalling the number of people in the area who don’t know where the museum is or have never been here,” she said.
The public has, however, been very generous with donations of historical items for display, said Scarlett.
The building should be up in about a month. Work on the inside will be ongoing for awhile.
A lot of work has gone into planning the addition, said Scarlett, with committee members meeting almost every week since January. And, with members from all areas of the county, meetings have required a big investment of time, she said.
“Everyone serving is very passionate about the museum,” she said.
Keeping the project on budget has been a main priority, said Scarlett. “That’s a key factor with being a non-profit.”
The Historical Society’s main fundraisers are its chicken and biscuit dinner, tractor rides and ice cream and pie social at the county fair.
Fundraising is always on-going, said Scarlett, and “any and all donations” are appreciated, she said.
Co-chairs of the Building Committee, which is in charge of ongoing maintenance, are John Scarlett and Marvin Bassett. Other members are Connie Scarlett, Arvid Evans, Gerald Ford, Earl Carroll, Larry Riley, and Jack Mitchell.
Besides Connie Scarlett, president, Society officers are Larry Joe Vandewater, treasurer; Betty Schultz, first vice president; Marvin Bassett, second vice president; and Rowena Hardin, secretary.
Attending the ground breaking for the addition at the Adair County Heritage Museum are, front row, from left: Grant Calvin of Morton Buildings, Gerald Ford, Earl Carroll, Betty Schultz, Connie Scarlett, Larry Riley; back row: Jack Mitchell, Galen Schwochow, Larry Joe Vandewater, Arvid Evans, John Scarlett, Pam Long, Phil Cannon, April Carns, Stacie Hull, and Jane Sullivan. Building Committee member not present is Marvin Bassett.
Courtesy of the Adair County Free Press and the Fontanelle Obeserver 6/29/16.