A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site of the future Barry County Museum on Highway 112 outside of Cassville on Oct. 13.
"The Barry County Museum will help us see that artifacts of Barry County are preserved," said Caleb Buntin, Able 2 Products vice president, who is currently the media contact for the proposed museum.
"It will give older generations an opportunity to reminisce and younger genera-tions an opportunity to see how people used to live in our county," said Buntin.
The future Barry County Museum is currently in the initial planning stage. Crews have begun excavation work for the 16,500-square-foot steel frame facility, which will be constructed by Phillips Brothers Construction of Cassville.
"Through donations or loans we hope to display objects and collections that are relevant to the history of the county," said Buntin. "We will include several categories at the museum, like agriculture, education, athletics, business, architecture and landscaping."
The museum will feature historical information, docu-ments, photographs and antiques.
Although some collected pieces are currently housed in a building on Highway 248 in Cassville, that location will not be open to the public. Museum officials are using the building as a storage facility only.
Fields' Photo Archives, which is also located on Highway 248, will remain in its present location. Buntin said that the future Barry County Museum will be able to house the archives, but no definite plans have been made to move the collection into the new building.
"Fields' Photo Archives will continue operating as it always has," said Buntin. "We are still doing the interviews and collecting photographs and other information there."
If the archives is moved to the new location, it will continue to offer the community art exhibits and collections, said Buntin.
Educational programs and a community meeting room are among some of the ideas officials are considering for the new facility, but no formal floor plan has been developed.
Originally, officials considered locating the Barry County Museum in the Old Kime building on Sale Barn Road in Cassville.
"The new location was selected, because we want to appeal to the traffic traveling to and from Roaring River State Park," said Buntin.
In selecting the new location, officials have also taken steps to address the possibility of flooding, said Buntin. Graham Excavating has leveled and added more soil to the museum building site.
As the building nears completion, museum officials have plans to set up a Barry County Museum Board of Trustees, which will oversee the collection, but no board members have been selected at present.
The Barry County Museum will be funded through private donations, grant funds and proceeds from Books and More, which is located on Main Street in Cassville.
In addition to the future Barry County Museum, the Barry County Genealogical and Historical Society is continuing its renovation project at the historic Bayless-Salyer House, which is located on the corner of Townsend and West Ninth Streets in Cassville.
Recently, construction crews have installed metal on the front porch ceiling, refurbished the brick wall and roof on the back side of the home and scraped the windows on the front side of the house. Crews will begin painting the windows and front porch as soon as the weather permits.
"Our goals are directly connected to the donations we receive," said Barbara Lacey, who is the project manager for the Bayless project. "With the recent hurricane in New Orleans, we have been reluctant to ask for contributions this year."
Over the next year, the Historical Society will bid the electrical wiring for the heating and air conditioning systems and plumbing.
The house should be enclosed so that the interior work can begin within the next year. Lacey hopes to complete the project within three or four years.
"It will all depend on the donations we receive and the volunteer work we get," said Lacey. "We can always use volunteers. We hope to schedule a community work day sometime in November."
When the Bayless-Salyer House is fully restored, it will be stocked with period furniture that was common in the early years of Barry County's history.
"The collection will be up to the group as a whole," said Lacey, "but the original plan was to use it to store Historical Society books and records. We would also like to see the home used for Historical Society and other small group meetings.
"Overall the house will be something that the county can take pride in, because of the history of the architecture," said Lacey. "The Bayless-Salyer House is a colonial revival type of home. It has lovely architecture, which is a great asset to the community."