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Traer Historical Museum year in review

May 10, 2013
Traer Star-Clipper


* Exterior Facade Renovation - The entire front facade of the museum was renovated. In addition to repainting, the awning was refabricated and a new, attractive sign was installed.

* State Historical Society of Iowa's "History on the Move" exhibit, The Fiery Trial, and the Cedar Valley Civil War Roundtable events held April 20-23, 2012 - On Friday, April 20th, 166 North Tama students and 12 adults attended presentations done by 10 Roundtable presenters. On Saturday, April 21st, 40 people attended presentations done by 6 presenters. The museum provided meals and gas reimbursement for the Roundtable presenters.

* Completion of Traer Opera House Exhibit - After countless volunteer hours spent planning, designing and constructing this new second floor exhibit, it was completed and ready for it's grand opening.

* Opera House Exhibit Grand Opening - On Friday, August 10th, during Traer's Winding Stairs Festival, "A Night at the Opera" was held at the museum. The event featured vocal and instrumental musical entertainment by several talented local performers, as well as theatrical skits by the Wolf Creek Players. Between acts, attendees were informed of the history of the opera house. The standing room only audience was also treated to sparkling grape juice and cookie treats from Cookie Mom Cookies.

* Homemade Pie and Ice Cream Social - This fundraising event was held on Saturday, August 11th, during the Winding Stairs Festival. Ice Cream was made by Ripley United Church of Christ.

* Book Sale - Book sale fundraiser was held at the library during the Winding Stairs Festival.

* Holiday Happenings Event - Free cookies, hot chocolate and craft project were provided.

* Second Floor Exhibits - Some second floor exhibits, mainly the school exhibits, were relocated and rearranged.

* Grants Approved - The museum's grant applications for the renovation of the Tama Jim Wilson Exhibit were approved by both Tama County Community Foundation and Black Hawk County Gaming Association. TCCF granted $3,000.00 and BHCGA granted $4,000.00.

* Tama Jim Wilson Exhibit Renovation - Construction of new walls, painting, installation of flooring, lighting, and barn board wall were all completed. Display case for Tama Jim's clothing was delivered. Mannequin for clothing was donated by Reuman's Clothing. Design and production of narrative wall panels containing educational text and photographic images is progressing.

* Publication of newsletter and 2013 annual membership campaign - Members for 2013 to date total 28. Last year's total membership was 35.

* Research at ISU Special Collections - Research on Tama Jim was done at ISU Special Collections.

* Cleaning by NT Students - 20 North Tama students volunteered on April 17, 2013, to help clean and organize the museum for spring opening.

* Gift Shop Sales - Continuing sales of "Soldier Life/Many Must Fall" - 2 Civil War narratives, other Civil War books, Wolf Creek Rangers T-shirts and other gift shop items.

* Window displays - Front window displays were designed to generate interest in the museum.

* Webpage - The museum's webpage at was updated.

* Facebook - The museum now has a Facebook page on which information, events and photos can be published.

* Audit of financial accounts - An audit was done and all accounts are in perfect order.


* UNI Museum display items - Wooden boxes of varying sizes, large flat wooden panels, rails for a wooden fence, all of which can be used in displays, and posts that can be used to rope off an area were acquired from the UNI museum.

* Herbert Hake Film - This film on Tama Jim was acquired through the research done at ISU Special Collections.

* Estate Donation - A generous donation to the museum was received from the Pauline Kober estate.

* Other acquisitions and donations?



* Presentation at Marshalltown Historical Society - PowerPoint presentation on Tama Jim Wilson was made at the society's January 17, 2013 meeting.

* Rental of 2 commercial properties - The museum owns and leases 2 commercial properties, which helps keep downtown stores occupied with viable businesses. Since Cookie Mom Cookies is closing, a new tenant, Leroy Bradley, will be leasing this property as of May 1st. North Tama Veterinary Clinic continues to be a tenant.

* Winding Stairs Festival participation - As a participant in Traer's annual festival, the museum held "A Night at the Opera," the Pie and Ice Cream Social and a book sale.

* Holiday Happenings participation - The museum participated in the Traer Chamber of Commerce's Holiday Happenings event in December by offering free refreshments and a Christmas Mouse Ornament Craft Project for children.

* Loan of Clothing and Flag - Upon receiving a request from producers of the movie "A Place for Heroes," the museum loaned 1940s era clothing and an old flag for use in the movie.

* Parade of Wreaths - The museum provided a holiday wreath which was displayed at the Traer Library's Parade of Wreaths.


* Pursuing repair of Winding Stairs with City of Traer.

* Solution to museum bathroom plumbing problem.

* Inspection of buildings owned by museum to determine any needed repairs or improvements.

* Cataloging donated items.

* Renovation and expansion of agricultural exhibit in basement.


* Volunteers needed to:

maintain regular museum hours, help catalog museum items,

* Acquisition of more farming equipment for agricultural exhibit.

* More members!



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