Friends of the Bullitt County History Museum
January 16, 2006 (Volume 2, Number 1)
Happy New Year!
Well, Friends, another year has ended and a new one begun.
There has been so much done. But there is much yet to do. So... here's to another exciting year ahead!
Here we go!...
>> Blacksmith work.
Phil Fortwenler, a Bullitt Countian who does some beautiful blacksmith work, met with me last week and has graciously agreed to make some parts that will help us nicely enhance the pioneer salt kettle display. You may recall that the museum was given two great old salt-making kettles (one huge) from pioneer days. Mr. Fortwenler has borrowed the large kettle while he makes a period iron hanging system for the display. I sure look forward to seeing the result!
>> Indexing our photo collection.
Thanks mostly to Tom and Penny Pack, the museum has a pretty extensive collection of historic photographs, and others come in almost weekly. Until now, the photos were protected, but it was difficult to know exactly what we had. Thanks to several great volunteers, we are now documenting our photos and indexing them for easier searches. We are even scanning them onto CDs, which will allow researchers to search the photos without having to handle the originals. That will also allow us to easily make backup copies to store offsite.
Volunteers Dub and Alice Armstrong, along with some others, have started going through the photos, indexing them into 15+ binders, and identifying what they can. As we proceed, we will need others of you to give more information on the photos, many of which are untitled.
I was very happy to have three young volunteers from our public schools on this project. Stephanie Sumner, Danielle Burns, and Brandon Carrier each spent a good number of hours over the past couple of weeks scanning two volumes containing over 200 photos into museum computers. Scanning with our rather slow equipment can be tedious work, so I really appreciate their help. We have a long way to go to completion, but, thanks to volunteers, we have made a great start on this important project.
>> Speaking of Volunteers...
I have not quite completed all numbers for 2005, but volunteer hours for the year will total well over 2500 hours at the museum. That's two thousand five hundred. Wow! And that counts only the official, signed-in hours at the museum...not the many, many more hours (such as doing field research, staffing out-reach booths, cleaning cemeteries, and writing this newsletter) spent by so many good people outside the museum itself. Obviously the museum could not function without the generous gift of personal time by our volunteers. Thank you all so much!
>> Red Cross display.
The museum is preparing for another rotation of displays. We will soon be replacing our "School Days" display, which remembers our local one-room school house heritage, with a new display recognizing the near century of local service that Red Cross has provided for us. Bullitt County Red Cross Director Mike Crenshaw is helping me gather materials for the display, which is planned for opening in February. Since much of Red Cross work started in our area around 1917, it will have some connection to our World War I display. It should be a great little showing. I'll be telling you more on this in the next couple of newsletters.
>> Closing reports on grants.
The museum had a successful year obtaining grants in 2005. Closing reports are coming due on those grants, and we are applying for others. In addition, the state grant that we received for restoring the old Shepherdsville Cemetery with groundwork, new fencing, and a historic marker must be used by June. What this means is that I will be quite busy over the next few months doing paperwork. If you catch me in a bit of a stir-crazy mood over the next couple of months, I apologize in advance! [grin]
>> It's all put away for the year now, but many thanks to the people and groups that donated money and decorations for the holidays. At the top of the grand staircase, we had a beautiful new, lighted ten foot tree with hundreds of sparkling ornaments. You might recall from previous newsletters that we wanted to "spruce up" the courthouse in which the museum is housed. The tree and decorations showed well through the "great window" of the building, and courthouse caretakers Renee' Hadley and Jerry Combest went above and beyond their duty in decorating the rest of the building interior.
>> Kentucky Historical Society offers free family history workshops.
The Kentucky Historical Society is making it easier to trace your roots in 2006. The KHS will offer a free genealogy workshop on the second Saturday of each month, from 12:30 - 4:00 p.m. Each session focuses on a family history research topic and offers hands-on research assistance in the KHS Martin F. Schmidt Library, at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in downtown Frankfort.
"African American Genealogy" - February 11
"Genealogy 101" - March 11
For more information, contact Tom Stephens, (502) 564-1792, ext. 4435, firstname.lastname@example.org or the KHS library, ext. 4460.
>> Books for sale.
We still have a few copies of the new book Kentucky's Civil War 1861-1865 published by Back Home in Kentucky for sale . The soft cover version is already sold out at the manufacturer, but we have a few in stock at the museum. We also have a couple of hardcover copies. Prices are $25 and $30. At this price, they are only available at the museum.
Edith Blissett's book of transcriptions of local newspaper stories of World War I has been "selling like hotcakes" at the museum. We just got several more of them in. They are $10.
We also have numerous other books at the museum by local genealogists for study and for sale.
>> Books Added to Museum Library
We are fortunate to have our local public library right next door to the museum. That library has a far-better collection of excellent books than we, but we do try to maintain a small, focused collection of books that might be helpful in our research room. Two such books recently added are: The History of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and A Kentucky Album, Farm Security Administration Photos 1935-1943.
The museum also received a free copy of the new book 2006 Kentucky Almanac. We received the complimentary copy because I wrote the page about Bullitt County. The book is a fantastic resource of information about Kentucky.
>> The Bullitt County Genealogical Society does not meet in January.
The next meeting of the society will be February 16.
>> A really great clock.
Here is a new challenge. In visiting other history museums and courthouses around the state, I often see really fine old clocks. I love the atmosphere of history created by the soothing sound of a good old clock pendulum ticking and deep mellow chimes sounding the time. We have a couple of clocks in our display rooms, but they are small models with a clanging sound rather than mellow. I would LOVE to have a really, really grand old grandfather clock or large wall clock to set off a room. We don't have room for many clocks, so I am looking for just one or two real attention-getters that might even become a marquee of sorts for the museum...one that people would remember and take photos of.
>> Still looking for cheap (even damaged) electric fireplace logs.
I can use one in the museum fireplace, one in the Old Stone Jail wood stove, and can use pieces for part of the salt kettle display. They are generally not very expensive, but I am just too stubborn to buy these logs new at store prices for something that will just be a subtle, though nice, enhancement to displays.
Other Great Resources:
>> You may recall that the museum recently added a fun working highway toll machine to its developing permanent display titled "Rivers, Roads, and Railroads". In a happy coincidence, this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Interstate Highway System. Check out www.interstate50th.org for interesting information about the history and facts of the Interstate highways.
>> Interested in genealogy? One good place to start is at www.archives.gov/genealogy
I can hardly believe our museum has already been in existence for a full calendar year. Many people wondered if the museum would even open at all, much less be worthwhile, but it did open in October 2004 to great reviews. Then people wondered if it would stay together, if it would really be worthwhile, or just fall apart and vanish.
But today we have become The source of historic information in the county...the "go to" place, the respected place to seek and to provide important information about our history. This at a time when our county is going through dramatic changes of growth and modernization.
Schools are noticing us. People from all over the country stop in to do research with us. Grants are awarded to us.
One short year, and so much success. It is really kind of breathtaking to look back.
Yet another year begins. And the challenge remains. Will we be a valuable, worthwhile entity? I think we have proven ourselves in spades so far. We must now continue the work...must continue to prove our worth every day. There has been so much accomplished, yet so very much more that we can do.
With people like you we can do it. We will do it. We are doing it.
Bless you all.
Thank you for being a Friend of Bullitt County History!
Bullitt County History Museum
Museum Phone: 502-921-0161
E-Mail address: David.Strange@BullittCountyHistory.org