Archive for Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Historical Society doors open

Basehor Historical Museum visitors gather around Aileen Seeman as she explains the different panels of a memory quilt she created Saturday morning at the museum’s grand opening.

Basehor Historical Museum visitors gather around Aileen Seeman as she explains the different panels of a memory quilt she created Saturday morning at the museum’s grand opening.

October 8, 2008

A vision of a place where artifacts depicting Basehor’s history could be displayed was born in 1984 along with the Basehor Historical Museum Association.

Throughout the years, the name has changed to the Basehor Historical Museum Society and the group has enjoyed several successes, from generous donations and grant applications to building the Basehor Brothers’ monument at 158th Street and Parallel Road. There have also been disappointments, including denied grant applications and the lack of a place to call home.

However, the vision to create a home for Basehor’s history has stayed the same and as community members gathered around the entrance of the new Basehor Historical Museum Saturday morning for the ribbon cutting and grand opening, members saw their vision come to life.

“Today you witness a new beginning as we look to the future, remembering the past,” member Mary Leonard said during the opening ceremonies.

The donation of the building by the Wiley family, substantial donations from Bill and June Beaver and Dixie Kreider combined with other smaller donations and the hard work of volunteers, especially the Neu family, transformed the more than 100-year-old building built by Ephraim Basehor himself into a place for the community to learn about its history.

“From baking cookies to driving nails, it couldn’t have happened without you,” Leonard said. “To date we have logged more than 2,200 volunteer hours.”

After representatives from the community cut the big yellow ribbon, the doors were opened and guests were greeted by 16 different displays — photographs, newspaper clippings, books, quilts, uniforms and furniture — which told stories from the 1800s to the present.

Joanie Soukup, curator for the Carroll Mansion in Leavenworth who helped educate Basehor Historical Museum Society members on the logistics of opening and running a museum, said she was amazed with the outcome.

“I really like the blend of the information and pictures,” she said. “They gave really good information on their text panels. I’m really impressed. They did a lot in a small amount of time.”

Guests continued to mill around the museum looking carefully at each of the exhibits and stopping to chat with some society members including the only remaining original member Aileen Seeman, who explained the panels of a memory quilt she had made to visitors.

Mel and Carrie Kirk, former Basehor residents, made the drive from Overland Park to see the museum.

“I think it’s been a remarkable transformation,” Carrie Kirk said.

“I think it’s very well done,” Mel Kirk said. “We go back to the ‘50s when it was a grocery story. It’s really a pleasant surprise for me that they could make it pleasant and appropriate for the exhibits.”

The Basehor Historical Museum, 2812 155th St., is now open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays, 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, call the museum at (913) 724-4022.

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