OSKALOOSA — Mahaska County Historical Society members are remodeling the Nelson Pioneer Farm Museum and people who come to the May 17 season opening ceremony will see many new exhibits.
“We’re redoing the main floor,” Nelson Pioneer Farm Curator Kelly Halbert said.
Halbert said she had heard many comments from people that the museum has looked the same as it did when they were young.
“It’s not been changed since 1964,” Halbert said. “It’s time we did a change.”
The main floor of the museum will be redesigned to allow people to walk a chronological path of Mahaska County history from pre-historic times to the present.
“We’re going to do several hands-on exhibits for children,” Halbert said.
Children can dig for mastodon bones. The can grind corn the same way as Native Americans. They also can sort through scrap metal just as children would during a World War II scrap drive, she said.
The museum also will feature a surveyor exhibit and a mill exhibit, Halbert said.
“We’re bringing up Dr. F.A. Gillett’s office from downstairs,” she said.
There will be an expanded World War II exhibit that will feature a battlefield diorama. The museum staff also would like veterans from World War II to Desert Storm to register their names for posterity. Also, World War II veterans and their families are free to donate any artifacts to the museum for the exhibit. Halbert said the World War I display has more artifacts than the World War II exhibit.
The museum staff also is looking for pictures of one-room schools and local colleges for exhibits. Halbert said that local service and fraternal organizations will be contacted for histories or artifacts of their clubs.
“The goal is to have this ready by May 17,” Halbert said. “I need stuff to me by April 1st.”
“This is going to be done by donations,” she added. “We’re looking for experienced carpenters and willing gofers. This would be a great father-son project. The helpers would have to be at least 12 years old.”