RUGBY Prairie Village Museum in Rugby celebrated its opening season Saturday with a "Museum Comes Alive" presentation featuring 20 volunteers costumed in old-time garb.
Executive director Cathy Jelsing said the event drew visitors from across the region. Visitors strolled the boardwalks, chatted with the costumed volunteers and learned about the museum's historic buildings such as the Penn Depot, York Jail, and the two-story Silva School.
"We were pleased with the participation in the Museum Comes Alive and we hope to continue to provide visitors with opportunities to take a step back in time," said Jelsing.
Brenda Olson clerked in the Prairie Village Museum General Store during the Museum Comes Alive event on Sunday.
Jelsing said visitors also had the opportunity to check out some of the new improvements that have recently been made to the museum.
One such improvement is a rotating exhibit hall that gives people an opportunity to take a close-up look at some of the museum's treasures. This month Jelsing has a display of old-time washing machines and scrub boards set up in the temporary exhibit hall. Eventually, she hopes to conduct more research into what eras the machines were used in and how they were used. Already, people who visit the museum sometimes reminisce about seeing the old washing machines jumping around when they were put to use. Jelsing said the machines are sometimes used during demonstrations at museum events.
Jelsing also salvaged a replica of the "Geographical Center of North America" sign that is on display along with the rotating museum exhibit. The actual geographical center of North America is located in the center of a slough a few miles away, though Rugby has long made that claim. The next rotating museum exhibit will likely include old photos from 1950s Rugby.
There is also a sign outside the museum asking visitors to "vote for the museum."
The Prairie Village Museum in Rugby will be asking Pierce County voters to approve a .36 mill increase on June 10. The mill increase would generate $7,270 this year and would be spent on museum operations. Based on 2013 figures, the owner of a $150,000 residential house in Rugby could expect to pay an additional $5.06 per year. Other tax increases would vary depending on the taxable valuation of the property. Voters defeated a similar request in September 2012, with 930 people voting in favor and 1,158 percent against. A 60 percent or greater majority is needed to pass a mill levy increase. Funds raised would go toward the general operations at the museum.
The next big event at the museum will be the Rhubarb Festival on June 29. Visitors may purchase tastes of everything rhubarb from noon to 3 p.m., purchase lunch, tour the museum and play with marbles.
The museum's regular hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon until 5 p.m. Sundays. More information about rates and hours is available at (www.prairievillagemuseum.com). The museum is a Blue Star Museum and admission for active duty military personnel and their families is free.