The newly opened Barry County Museum was the site of the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce's fifth quarterly luncheon on Tuesday. Over 75 area residents attended the event, which offered visitors an opportunity to enjoy lunch and tour Cassville's newest attraction.
Kathy White, museum director, welcomed the crowd and offered a short presentation about the museum.
"The purpose of the museum is to collect, care for and exhibit items that illustrate the past, present and future of Barry County," said White.
The museum building, which White said has exceeded all expectations, features an open floor plan with plenty of space to display historical memorabilia. Moveable partitions were used to divide the big open room into individual displays and there were five smaller rooms off of the larger room that contained additional displays.
Some of the exhibits included: antique housewares; a collection dedicated to veterans; an old printing press and newspapers; medical instruments and equipment belonging to Dr. George Newman and Dr. Mary Newman; and a room full of antique instruments, vintage sheet music and a Kimball Victorian parlor pump organ, circa 1888.
"Our desire is to see the history of Barry County stay in Barry County," said White. "We're accepting donations daily. We offer an outlet for people to donate or loan their family heirlooms to the museum."
A row of display cases lined one of the museum walls where local individual's personal collections were on display. One of the collections, loaned to the museum by Evelyn Nicholas, featured a set of dishes sent from Germany by an American soldier stationed there during World War II. The dishes originally belonged to Anne Louis White, a one-time Barry County resident.
White said the site of the Barry County Museum on Highway 112 encompasses 20 acres.
"This gives us room for expansion and development," said White. "It also provides an inviting and serene spot for visitors to enjoy."
The acreage surrounding the museum will soon be home to the Black Schoolhouse and Eden Cabin. Both structures have been moved and will be reassembled at the museum site.
"The Black School will enable people to walk back into the days of rural schools," said White, "and the Eden Cabin will be used to show the history of early life in Barry County."
Future projects will include erection of a pole barn, which will house a display of antique farm equipment.
"The museum is able to host educational programs for schools and organizations," said White. "We also hope to be able to present historical programs to students."
The Barry County Museum also houses a gift shop, Fields' Photo Archives and a research area with plenty of reference materials. The museum is also home to the Barry County Oral History Project and the Rural Schools Project.
Currently, the museum is supported by a staff of six. Staff members include White, Kay Phillips, Schrediah Mahurin, Cheryl Stephenson, Cherry Bailey, Ariel Wahl and Amber Wilson.
"You'll always be greeted at the front door," said White. "We want you to take your time and feel at home here because this is Barry County at its best."
A list is currently being compiled of those who are interested in helping to support the Barry County Museum through membership or volunteer service.
"The needs of this museum are immense," said White. "An endeavor of this magnitude will require the support of the entire community."
White said she has been pleased with the reception the museum has received from the public.
"Our location is great," said White. "We have people stopping on the way back or to Roaring River State Park. We're getting visitors from not only the county and other counties across the state but from out of state as well."
For more information about the museum, call 847-1640. The museum is open Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.