Historical Society reports successful 2011, positive outlook for 2012

Dustin Heckman, Mower County Historical Society executive director, had good things to say about the status of the local historical organization’s status.

Heckman told the Mower County Board the historical society saw its highest visitor totals of all time in 2011. While Heckman was also excited about two traveling exhibits that came through last year, he’s also excited for four more, possibly five, in 2012 and 2013. He hopes that will spark some business as well.

“That should hopefully bring a lot more people into town,” he said.

Heckman also reported that upgrades to electrical components at the Historical Society facilities caused positive effects, as well.

“We have greatly decreased our energy usage,” he said.

The Mower County Historical Society is currently working with five different grants for projects that are underway, and another grant could mean two of his employees could attend some state historical meetings, too.

“2012 is starting off with quite a bang,” he said.

The only problem Heckman addressed is the issue of untagged items. He mentioned about 61 percent of the artifacts on the fairgrounds are documented. That means the organization may not legally own the others. Fortunately, previous legislation made it easier for organizations to obtain those rights, Heckman said. However, he added his employees have a big chore ahead of them documenting certain items and refining the collection to items only relevant to the county’s history.

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