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Museum offering free peek at renovations June 10 & 11

By Staff | Jun 2, 2017

Tanner Lind visits with Sandy Mann, Turlock, Calif., (left) and Kathy Burns-Jepson, Rugby and Modesto, Calif., before they tour Prairie Village Museum. The museum is offering free admission June 10 and 11 to celebrate improvements to the Old Main reception area and the addition of museum and Rugby Chamber of Commerce and Visitors' Bureau offices. (Submitted photo)

Prairie Village Museum is offering free admission to all visitors Saturday and Sunday, June 10 and 11, to commemorate completion of major renovations to its main entrance building.

“Prairie Village Museum’s Old Main renovation project marks the start of a new era for the museum,” said executive director Cathy Jelsing. “This will be the first year museum offices and Old Main gallery will be open year round. And it’s first time the Rugby Chamber of Commerce and Visitors’ and Convention Bureau has had its offices on the museum grounds. We think that’s something to celebrate.”

Celebration hours are 8:30 a.m. 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Everyone will be admitted free and coffee and cookies will be served. Regular admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $3 for kids ages 7 to 17, and $18 for a family (2 adults and kids). “The Hawk Museum’s annual Antique Farm Show is the same weekend,” Jelsing said, “so we hope museum fans will stop in on their way to or from that event.”

The Geographical Center Historical Society board and Friends of Prairie Village Museum are hosting an evening reception for project contractors, Rugby Chamber and CVB board members, city and county leaders. “We want to thank the contractors for their work, some of which they charged for and some of which they generously donated,” Jelsing said. “In-kind contributions of labor and materials by Tim Bartsch of Bartsch Electric and Ben Kuhnhenn of Daryl’s Plumbing and Heating alone saved the historical society thousands of dollars.”

Visitors are commenting on how nice the reception area looks and Jelsing said the spaciousness is also making it easier to handle large groups. About 600 children toured Prairie Village Museum in May and nearly half of them 246 students and 25 chaperones from five schools arrived one morning between 9 a.m. and noon. “The more expansive reception is allowing us to handle crowds we would have had trouble managing in the past,” Jelsing said.

The Old Main renovation project also has given collections manager Stephanie Steinke and volunteers a place to work on collections out of the public eye and provided the executive director with a private office for the first time in the museum’s 52-year history.

The next phase of the project, external renovations to the museum front faade, will start this summer and continue in 2018. Other construction projects in the village this year include completion of the Great Northern caboose, most recently supported by a $9,000 grant from the BNSF Foundation and two $1,500 grants from the Rugby Jaycees.

For more information visit www.prarievillagemuseum.com, call 701-776-6414 or email prairievillagemueum@gmail.com.

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