Last Friday, the Osage County Historical Society Museum recognized donors, sponsors, and volunteers who have helped make a difference in the Museum and Osage County.
The pre-opening event included a preview of exhibits that contain items from area families. One particular exhibit was the clay molding of long-time Museum Curator Betty White Smith. Smith, a GFWC Heeko member, was volunteer curator since the Museum moved into its current location in the mid-1960s. Lee Hamilton Barnhisel created the bust. Lee is the daughter of renowned sculptor Jim Hamilton. Local renowned sculptor John Free is donating his time to cast the finished bronze.
Museum docents Ron Silva and Gordon Johnston gave an overview of the steps involved in restoring smoke-damaged photos and art. They used the large portrait of the late Henry Grammer for their demonstration.
"Prior to restoration; Grammer’s face was virtually gone," Johnston said. "His hands had the appearance of wearing mittens."
Silva added, "After about a hundred years of grime, paint loss, smoke deposition and possibly an act of vandalism, we’re lucky to have anything to restore."
Barbara Pease, Museum Director/Curator noted, "Ron and Gordon worked miracles in restoring the majority of the Museum’s priceless art. We commissioned a firm in Chicago to restore oil paintings of Osage Elders Pawhuska, Bacon Rind, and Pestsmoie. I would match Ron and Gordon’s work against them anytime! The best part is they volunteered so much of their research and time. We are so blessed to have such fine supporters of our Museum."
Pease said, "The Mission of the OCHS Museum is the collection, preservation and publication of historical artifacts, papers and pictures. We house several thousand exhibits in five categories: Oil, Native Americans, Western, Pioneer and Scouting. We need to add a six category of the Santa Fe train history. After all, our Museum is housed in the former Santa Fe depot."
A wish list of items currently needed for the Museum include: an Archival flat file cabinet, archival storage boxes, exhibit platforms, exhibit display panels, exhibit cases, gallery railing, quality picture frames, a double-sided sign, large wall-mounted TV, library ladder for the Book Room, mannequins, signage, a 12 ft. ladder, and a podium. Monies are needed to repair and restore the antique organ and pianos as well as for ongoing painting and art restoration.
"We also need to pave our North Parking Lot for handicap accessible vehicles as well as rain guttering for the entire building," said Pease.
In that regard, Johnston and Silva presented a check in the amount of $1,500 to aid in these efforts.
"The restoration and preservation of Osage County artifacts requires the continued support of all," said Silva.
The OCHS Museum has two levels of memberships available. Annual memberships range from $25 on up to $1,000 for Lifetime. Seniors 65 and over are eligible for a $500 Lifetime membership. In addition, a new Elite membership category is available for donations of $1,001 to $50,000+. Membership perks include invitations to pre-exhibit events, 10 percent gift shop and book store discount, and subscription to the "Depot Chronicles" newsletter.
"Feedback on this event has been so positive! Everyone had a lovely time," said Pease. "They bragged and bragged on what we have accomplished since the fire. I was almost embarrassed at the outpouring of appreciation."
The OCHS Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.osagecohistoricalsocietymuseum.com/ or call 918-287-9119.