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Monday, May 2, 2016

Gray Matters:Historical Society Up-date

Thursday, April 3, 2008

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I wish I were able to visit all of the museums and historical centers in our area as I know each one is unique and each makes its special contribution to our quality of life. As I can't get around to them all, I am writing today about The Marcus Historical Society and hoping some of my observations will apply to many of the others, as well.

To refresh your memory, an interested group started meeting in 2005 to consider the possibilities of forming an historical society. By July of 2006, letters of incorporation, and all other appropriate documents had been filed. So The Marcus Historical Society became a reality in time to be introduced with an award-winning booth at the Marcus Fair that year. Inspiration came from Bob and Max Reed, Florida residents whose hearts will always belong to Marcus. Resident leadership includes many wonderful volunteers, perhaps chief among them being June Pallesen. As one of the youngest member of the group, her youthful enthusiasm speaks well for its future.

By March of 2007, using monies provided by the Reed's, the former Nazareth Lutheran Church building was purchased to house the Society. It has been named the Reed Center in honor of Bob's parents, the late Carl and Hazel Reed. The remainder of their funds was utilized for clean-up and signage. The latter was very effectively done by Holton Custom Signs of Cherokee. New roofing and gutters have been completed and paid for, so the building is secure from the elements and interior improvements are underway. Shelving, display cases and other fixtures have been donated or purchased and several industrious volunteers have put in many hours cleaning and painting the main floor areas. Present emphasis is on the basement which is being readied to store, catalog and prepare the displays.

No exact time-line has been established, but the target date for the official Grand Opening has been set to coincide with the Marcus Fair this coming August. Some very interesting objects have already been donated to the Society which leads us to consider the acquisition policies now in place. It should be noted that items may be either given or loaned; all are equally protected by the Center's insurance. One qualification which will be closely adhered to is the preference for Marcus-related items. This is not in the strictest sense, but in the sense that tools, fashions, or whatever, are those which would have been used locally in early times. An accessions committee will carefully consider each item before adding it to the collection.

The close association between genealogy and history has been recognized, so the Society hopes to become a repository for family stories and records. Everyone is encouraged to contribute such documents, either originals or copies, to form a part of this invaluable resource.

I've touched on but a few of the many facets of this fledgling organization all of which are being conducted by devoted volunteers. For fear of omitting some, June Pallesen, their president, is the only one I have mentioned by name. This stay-at-home-mom is doing a great job. Born and raised in our town, she attended Augustana College where she earned BA's in both music and religion. She then taught music in the Sioux Falls schools for a time. I believe the discipline of music has contributed to her extraordinary organizational skills which enable her to work with, and keep track of, all the volunteer efforts.

When ready, the Reed Center will be open at regularly schedule hours with tours possible at other times, by appointment. School field trips and other group visits will be encouraged. The Center does, indeed, promise to be a meaningful addition to our area's efforts to preserve our proud past, which is essential in supporting our faith in the future!