NEWS

THE FAMILY HISTORY CENTER

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Fabulous Friday Program
Friday, August 12, 2022 -Family History Center 2:00pm 

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For the August Fabulous Friday, (at the Trails & Rails Museum) Ardith Davenport will present school dresses of the 1950s and 60s! Additionally, Davenport will discuss the various styles, construction, and types of fabric.

BCHS Little Library Now Open

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Mary Jane Skala – Kearney Hub – July 8, 2022

KEARNEY — An inviting outdoor area where the public can sit down, read and relax has opened at the Buffalo County Historical Society’s Trails & Rails Museum at 710 W. 11th St.

The little lending library with benches, picnic tables and a bike rack sits on the northwest corner of the property by the museum’s Family History Center. It is open around the clock.

“People can pop in, read books here on a bench, or take them with them,” said Jennifer Murrish executive director of BCHS. “Once the books have been read, we ask people to either bring them back and swap them out, or find another little library to place them in.”

She said BCHS has applied to make the site an official Little Free Library.

“This dream has been in the works for several years,” said Broc Anderson, BCHS community engagement director. “A lot of people had a hand in this to make it work.”

It all began in 2016, when Jan Pollat donated a miniature covered wagon and oxen to the museum. Volunteer Elaine Batenhorst sought a way to utilize those pieces for educational use and decided to turn them into a lending library. “A search began to find someone who could help secure the lending library for Nebraska elements,” Murrish said. Meanwhile, BCHS worked on other details. 

When the Family History Center opened in 2017, the northwest corner of its property was declared the perfect site for the library. The museum received a grant from the Theodore G. Baldwin Foundation to help weather-proof the wagon so it could remain outside.

Rodney Pesek, an employee of BD Construction, created the small roofed enclosure for the wagon and put the wagon on a stand for easier access. He included an access door so people can reach in and take books. Grant Lewis completed the concrete pad for the wagon in 2021 for his Eagle Scout project. The Kearney Lions Club had donated the benches in 2017, and youth from the YRTC helped move three benches and the picnic table to the site from the museum’s gazebo area. A small bike rack was also placed there. The museum hopes to eventually upgrade it to a buffalo-shaped rack.

Meanwhile, Batenhorst collected books from friends. She placed a little note inside each one before placing it in the wagon. Other volunteers who assisted in the project included Chuck Prochaska, and Mary Beth and Tim Lowe. “We are ready for the public to stop by, read, relax, and enjoy some outdoor time,” Murrish said. “All of us are grateful for each and every person who had a hand in this beautiful new corner of the museum.” Batenhorst asked that people post a picture on the BCHS Facebook page of the books they read from the lending library. “We would love to see how far these books travel,” she said.

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