A new chapter for museum

MARSHALL – The Lyon County Historical Museum has gotten a lot of positive feedback since it opened its doors at a new location on Lyon Street this spring. But work on renovating the building and putting together new exhibits is still going on, museum director Jennifer Andries said. Several new developments, including the reconstruction of a historic log cabin, landscaping and the completion of the museum’s 1950s ice cream counter, are planned for this fall.

A lot of the activity going on at the museum is taking place on the lower level. New carpet and paint have been put in, and workers are helping to build exhibits on the early history of Lyon County.

“It will cover the pre-settlement and pioneer era and early farming up to the 1920s,” Andries said. One of the centerpieces of the exhibit is the museum’s 1870s log cabin, which workers like Paul Evanson and Earl Wiering are helping to rebuild. The cabin once stood on land in Nordland Township before being moved to the Lyon County fairgrounds and then to the museum’s old location on 3rd Street.

At least part of the cabin’s logs were numbered for reassembly, Evanson said, but other parts needed to be put back together like a huge puzzle.

“I’ve got a new respect for the pioneers, because they didn’t have the tools we did,” he said of the process.

Local volunteers had helped move the cabin, which had been disassembled for storage, into its new home. Andries said it was a job that couldn’t have been completed without their help, as the logs were large and heavy.

Now, Andries said, “It’s not going anywhere.” The cabin is staying put as part of a permanent exhibit.

In addition to the log cabin exhibit, the museum’s covered wagon and a mock-up of a barn will also be on display on the lower level. Andries said the barn exhibit is being built from a combination of distressed wood and boards reclaimed from old barns.

“We wanted a place where you can walk in and see our farm tool collection displayed,” she said. A hayloft will complete the look.

At the same time, Andries said the museum is getting closer to having a functioning ice cream counter on the main level.

“So far, we have the plumbing and electric work done,” Andries said. Sinks and appliances like a freezer will be added, and the counters will be built in the same style as the rest of the lunch counter exhibit.

A big part of getting the lunch counter up and running has been meeting state licensure and other requirements to serve ice cream.

“I had to get my food management certification to scoop ice cream,” Andries said, smiling.

Outside the museum’s front door is a more obvious sign of construction. A large square of pavement has been removed to make room for a new flagpole and landscaping.

“We took down the old flagpole because it was crooked,” Andries said. The local American Legion and VFW posts have donated a new flagpole, she said. Cobblestones, benches and a retaining wall are planned for the area around the new flagpole. “The goal is to dedicate the new flagpole by the American Legion convention in October.”

Andries said the museum is continuing to develop its new building, in stages. Next year, the focus will be on renovating the upper story of the building.