New Barry County museum on horizon

Thursday, June 8, 2006

The initial planning phase for Barry County's first historical museum, which will be located on Old Sale Barn Road, is now underway.

"The primary purpose of the Barry County Museum is to collect, care for, exhibit, interpret and demonstrate objects that will serve to illustrate the past, present and future of Barry County," said Cheryl Williams, who will serve as the Barry County Museum director.

The proposed museum's collection will contain items and displays depicting the natural resources, history, exploration, settlement, agriculture, manufacturing, trade, transportation, education, culture and social development of the county.

Fields' Photo Archives will be relocated inside the new Barry County Museum.

"The Archives will be a portion of the new museum," said Williams. "We will continue to provide art exhibits and other collections with the Archives."

The proposed museum will be located in the building that currently houses the Cassville Fire Protection District trucks and equipment.

The fire district plans to build a new firehouse across from Fasco Industries on six acres of property it purchased in 2005. The district is currently taking sealed bids for the new firehouse, which will feature seven bays and office space.

Although there is no formal architectural designs for the proposed Barry County Museum, renovation plans include a 4,000-square-foot addition, which will increase the building size to around 10,000 square feet. A nearby barn will also be used to display outdoor exhibits.

"The museum is in the basic planning stages right now," said Williams. "We are brainstorming ideas. We want the museum to interest all kinds of people and ages.

"We don't want the museum to only be about history," said Williams. "We want to have exhibits about the present and future of Barry County. We are looking for people to help with ideas."

The museum will feature educational programs, a community meeting room and a theater.

"This museum will be in addition to what the historical society wants to do at the Bayless House," said Williams. "We want to do something extra. We don't want to take away from the historical society plans. We want to complement them.

"We don't know when they will finish the Bayless House, and we see a need for a museum now," said Williams.

The historic Bayless-Salyer House, which is located on the corner of Townsend and West Ninth Streets in Cassville, is being restored by the Barry County Genealogical and Historical Society.

The Barry County Museum will be funded through private donations and grant funds. The renovation project is scheduled to be completed by next spring.

For more information, call Williams at 847-1640

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