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Gronvold house a priority

By Staff | Mar 28, 2014

Submitted Photo Repairing the Gronvold House, pictured here during the 2013 Village Fair, is a priority of the Prairie Village Museum.

Museum season is right around the corner and Prairie Village Museum is eager to continue providing tourists and area residents with an ever-improving venue.

Based on Conservation Assessment Program reports completed last fall, the museum is taking steps to repair buildings and improve conservation practices.?The CAP reports, funded by a $7,000 grant from Heritage Preservation and Institute of Museum and Library Services, are based on site visits by an architect and a professional conservator.

  • Architect Jim McDonald’s CAP report detailed many improvements that need to be made, but museum executive director Cathy Jelsing said it all can’t be done at once. “We have barely enough to keep doors open and keep the grounds maintained. There’s practically no gravy,” she said. “That’s why we apply for grants – to stretch the gravy.”
  • The museum has applied for a $6,600 matching grant from the State Historical Society of North Dakota Cultural Heritage to replace the rotting front porch, repair windows, and repaint the historic Gronvold House. McDonald noted drainage is an issue with many structures at the museum and that issue will be addressed in the Gronvold House Project this summer.

“My focus these first few years has been to get people in the door and we’ve done that with more marketing, better signage, and more programming,” Jelsing said. “The extra events give people more reasons to be here.” Now the museum is focusing its attention on the collections, how they are presented to the public and how they are protected for future generations.

This summer museum regulars will find two new exhibits on display in the museum’s new Old Main exhibit space. “One exhibit will feature photos of the area and another will be about the Geographical Center of North America,” Jelsing said, who suggested these are the first new exhibits to be installed in the museum in many years.

In her CAP report, conservator Terri Schindel described the museum’s current display style as “open storage,” because virtually everything the museum owns is on display. She recommends rotating objects from display into storage to make displays less cluttered and to protect objects from the elements.

Without a full-time staff, Jelsing has had to put certain projects on hold. She hopes to begin working closer with collections and building an electronic database of the museum’s collections. A more organized approach will allow the museum and its many volunteers to better present the artifacts.

“We can do a better job telling stories with artifacts by taking the best ones and getting the story behind them,” she said.

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