Friends of the Bullitt County History Museum
August 3, 2005
>> Cemetery work in Shepherdsville continues. A front-page article in the August 3 Courier Journal Neighborhoods section gives well-deserved recognition to Darrell Vires, Jim McClure and many others of the local Scottish Rite volunteers who have been doing hard and impressive work in 90 degree weather restoring a 1 1/2 acre pioneer cemetery that was so overgrown that people would literally stand next to it and not be able to find it for the overgrowth. Just as important to me, they are also researching the history of the cemetery and the many significant individuals buried there. A number of other, smaller, family cemeteries are also being cleared around the county by other volunteers as interest grows.
>> The grand adventure...Walking the River searching for (and finding) a 200-year-old dam on the Salt River. This has been described in previous newsletters, but this week it was front-page news in "The Pioneer News" county newspaper.
>> Local sculptor Jason Kelty is working with me on one of my far-out ideas. This one is to repair a puddle problem on a sidewalk in front of the Old Stone Jail. The idea is: instead of some ugly drainage trench cut into the new sidewalk, why not "sculpt" some attractive pattern in the walk that would also accomplish the needed drainage? I certainly have no authority on this and it may not even turn out to be a good idea, but we're working through what might be.
>> Local videographer Michelle LaRock is helping design and seek grants to make several versions of videos ranging from a few minute repeatable clip on "Why is History Important?' to national Public Television video on pioneer salt-making and salt-licks and their effect on settlements and nature.
>> Quotes are being sought and received to re-tuck-point (reapply mortar to the joints) of the stones of the Old Stone Jail. Once the quotes are in, we will seek grants and funding for the project, which is looking like it will cost around $5,000 if commercially done. If you know someone to do this, get them in contact with me soon. I am told that they must use a "Type Zero" mortar instead of the harder modern-day mortar that damages old stonework.
>> I am helping some people find the best really-attractive commercial setting-benches (and perhaps a large flower pot) to go outside near the Old Stone Jail. There are some really nice choices out there!
>> We hosted a tour of the Museum by twenty-five elementary school students. Whew! 25 elementary school students. Need I say more? They were actually quite well-behaved for their age and a I hope to see more, perhaps fewer at a time though. They LOVED the Old Jail, where they could "let loose" a bit and check out the jail inside and out in an active sort of organized chaos that could do no harm.
>> Marilyn Lee brought a large package of photos of "Jiggs" Buckman to the museum, along with a 16mm reel of old home movies. "Jiggs" was an important figure in Bullitt County history for whom the main street of Shepherdsville is named. The photos, showing Mr. Buckman and others from his youth up, are on loan while I scan them into digital format. I am also having the video transferred to VHS and DVD format. Ms. Lee has offered to pay for this but I am trying one reel (in order to verify quality and value) before going ahead with her several other reels of tape. We hope to find significant images once the format is changed and viewed. The process is expensive, though, currently looking like it will cost about $200 total for four 300-foot reels at the "Video Kitchen" store. 16mm is kind of rare for home movies. If you have a cheaper/better source for converting these reels of tape, please let me know.
>> A Courier Journal reviewer recently praised a new preservation book titled, "Saving Stuff: How to Care for and Preserve Your Collectibles Heirlooms, & Other Prized Possessions" by Don Williams. The book looked like it would be a useful resource for us Friends, so I bought a copy and donated it to the museum library.
>> While visiting the Hardin County History Museum recently, I came across three interesting little locally-made booklets on the Abraham Lincoln family in Hardin County, one of which mentions some Bullitt County links to that family, particularly the Vires family, and even the Ignatious Strange family (Hey! My ancestors were neighbors with the Lincolns!). The booklets were quite nice for the money (cost only $1 to $3 each) so I bought them as a donation. I think they are also a good example for how we might publish some items. The booklets are stored in the Lincoln family folder at the museum. By the way, the Hardin County Museum is quite nice in its new location. Visit it sometime when you can.
Another Great Resource:
>> I told Museum Friends about this resource in a very early edition of this newsletter, but considering the growth of this group and the new restoration activity at local cemeteries, I thought it worth repeating. For an extensive resource for cemetery and tombstone restoration, try www.savinggraves.com.
The Magic Word is "Catalyst"
I often say that the Museums' true importance is as much a central, first-contact resource as a place for displaying our history. Today the word "catalyst" came to my mind. We are seeing explosive growth in local interest in our history to the point that I am sometimes overwhelmed by all of the working and proposed projects. It is getting to where I am getting calls or e-mails every couple of days from people interested in starting or getting involved in some new project. The Museum is not directly running many of these projects. And some of them might have been done without the Museum. But I like to think...and do believe, that the presence of the Museum, with its energetic activity and positive, widespread publicity, has been a new light in Bullitt County. A "catalyst" that, though of itself might not accomplish much, when placed in the correct environment starts a reaction that goes far beyond its own initial work... that enables important work to proceed that otherwise might not be possible.
Thank you, Friend, for being part of that exciting process!
Bullitt County History Museum
Museum Phone: 502-921-0161
E-Mail address: David.Strange@BullittCountyHistory.org