Archive for Wednesday, March 26, 2008

8th-grader putting together museum display

March 26, 2008

Basehor Historical Society Museum visitors will literally be able to peer through a window into the past with the construction of a unique display planned for next month.

For his Eagle Scout Leadership Project, Boy Scout Alec Smith, an eighth-grader at Basehor-Linwood Middle School and a student at the Basehor-Linwood Virtual School, decided to ask the Basehor Historical Museum Society if it needed any help. The purpose of the project is for the Scout to show leadership within his troop and give to the community.

"He approached us and asked if there was a project he could do for us," Historical Society member Carla Crawford said. "We had talked about one of our rooms being a multipurpose display room."

"Basehor is our hometown and the Historical Society is really needing some display cases," Smith said about the project.

The display will be a replica of an 1800s storefront including a small roof, clapboard siding, store sign, railing, a step and a pane window. Once complete, visitors will be able to step up onto the "porch" and look through the window to see the display in the room on the other side. Crawford said the idea came from viewing somewhat similar displays at the Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City.

Smith is in charge of planning the project, raising the money to purchase materials, getting approval from all parties including the local Scout council or district, executing the project with the help of his fellow Boy Scouts from Troop 169 and a few adult supervisors and completing a final write up when construction is finished.

"I've spent most of my life around power tools in my dad's workshop, but I'm supposed to be leading the project," Smith said. "The adults will be running the power tools because that's what it says in the rules. Then the Scouts in my troop will volunteer to help."

Construction was scheduled to begin during spring break, but Smith said collecting the expected $980 for the project has been a bit slow. The date was pushed back to April 12 and will probably take two Saturdays to complete.

"I sent letters to companies asking for monetary donations or supply donations," he said. "So far, I've gotten $220 in cash and a 20 percent discount at Lowe's."

Local company Scherer Construction will also be donating most of the lumber for the project and the Basehor Historical Society will be providing the paint.

After the project is successfully completed along with a few other merit badges, Smith will earn his Eagle Rank during an Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony.

"I'm excited to be doing it and to be helping my community," he said.

The Basehor Historical Society Museum is not open to the public yet, but Crawford said they continue to work toward an opening date. They are still in great need of donations, she said, and are happy they were able to help Smith find a project as well as benefit from his services. While such a large display project would have normally been put further down on the priority list, the fact that Smith is coming in to complete it will help the Historical Society bring the museum up to the quality they want for the patrons.

"It will enhance the quality of the inside of the building as far as what we can present to the community," Crawford said. "Alec is providing a service to us because we're still in need of financial support for some things in the building to enhance it, so it's a nice facility for everybody. It's an opportunity for something nice to happen and it didn't get put on the back burner."

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