Newsletter: The Museum Messenger
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Preservation Projects Completed
Old Mill, Swedish Pavilion Finish Major Restoration… But the Work’s Not Done Yet!
Since spring and summer 2023, several major projects have wrapped up, helping to ensure the preservation of the museum’s historic buildings.
First is a project costing about $100,000 to repair crumbling masonry work and missing bricks on the mill’s exterior. This important project was made possible thanks to a Heritage Trust Fund grant through the Kansas Historical Society and also included repainting of lettering on the mill.
A project costing more than $160,000 for work on the on the 1904 World’s Fair Swedish Pavilion has been mostly completed – including complete repainting of the exterior and repair and restoration of its front porch to a historically accurate design. A final step of the project – repair and restoration of the pavilion’s windows – is now on hold until the structural integrity of the building can be fully evaluated and any necessary repairs completed, since this work could effect the windows’ ultimate shape. This stabilization and repair is the next top priority on the museum’s list of building repairs.
The museum building has also been receiving attention, with Mid Kansas Construction out of McPherson, Kansas, replacing worn out guttering and drainage systems in October.
The Museum Handy Crew has also been hard at work every Wednesday with a multitude of projects, including rebuilding the walkway to the Old Mill with more durable composite material, repairing the exterior walls of the implement shop on Heritage Square, removing the Pavilion fence for later replacement, and many more miscellaneous smaller projects.
Upcoming work includes a number of less “splashy” but critically important preservation and safety projects.
Museum Joins Access Program
In October, the museum joined Museums for All, a signature access program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Association of Children’s Museums, to encourage people of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum-going habits. The program supports those receiving food assistance (SNAP) benefits visiting the Old Mill Museum for a minimal fee of $3 per person, up to four people, with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.
120 Years of the Swedish Pavilion Focus of 2024
Nearly a century and two decades ago, St. Louis hosted a famous World’s Fair. International pavilions celebrated global cultures, including Sweden.
These buildings were meant to last only about nine months, but next year in 2024 will mark 120 years since the Swedish Pavilion was assembled. In 1905 it went to Bethany College, then moved to the museum in 1969.
That’s a milestone worth celebrating! So in 2024, the Pavilion will take center stage with special events at Millfest. Follow online at Facebook, Twitter/X, and Instagram for updates and schedules!
New Historic Image Database Draws Intense Community Interest, Participation
Launched in late September 2023, the Historic Image Database is a community service project of the museum that is digitizing and preserving images of the past that are valuable and of interest to Lindsborg, the Smoky Valley, and the surrounding region.
Thanks to a grant from the Smoky Valley Community Foundation and the work of museum volunteers, interns and employees, there are now more than 1,900 pictures and other historic images available and more than 42,000 views at the time of publication. Contact the museum at 785-227-3595 or firstname.lastname@example.org to contribute.
Read more and go to the project’s Flickr photostream at www.oldmillmuseum.org/historic-image-database.
Museum Wins Technology Award
With an innovative 360-degree video tour introduced in 2023, the Old Mill Museum has garnered the recognition of the Kansas Museums Association with a technology award.
Announced at the association’s annual conference in November, the museum took top prize in the “Technology Award for Projects $9,999 and Below.” The project takes viewers through the entire mill, be able to look in any direction and see the surrounding machinery in motion. The tour can be experienced at www.oldmill
Rachelle Meinecke, Director of the Lowell Holmes Museum of Anthropology and Chair of the KMA Awards Committee, said the project featured impressive video quality, but also helped make learning about the Old Mill more accessible to people with disabilities.
“The video was a very creative and economical way to solve the problem,” Meinecke said. “That was what caused the most conversation among our committee.”
Meinecke said that now anyone across the globe can now experience the mill even if they can come in person.
“The use of technology through interactives in museums is a key tool to engage visitors in creative and educational ways,” she said. “It attracts younger people and speaks a language they understand. It can make museum collections come alive in new ways.”
Year-End Campaign Perfect Time To Renew Museum Membership
If you’re reading this and it’s still 2023, take the time now to secure a triple match when you purchase your annual museum membership!
Thanks to a generous challenge pledge of $50,000 from Julie-Ann Neywick – longtime museum supporter and volunteer – any individual, family, and business memberships purchased before 5 p.m. Central Time on December 31 will secure three times that amount from the Match Challenge.
“I want this to be a gift for the holidays to support the community and one of my favorite places: the museum,” Neywick said. “I’m looking forward to seeing everyone come together.”
That means a $40 individual membership brings the museum another $120, a $60 family membership secures another $180, and getting a $125 business membership (which also grants membership benefits for up to 10 of your employees) will impressively secure an additional $375!
What’s more, Neywick has agreed to match memberships retroactively back to September 15 of this year, so if you’ve already purchased your membership – don’t worry! You’ve already secured your part of the $50,000 match funds and done your part. To become a member today, use the form below or visit www.oldmillmuseum.org/members.
From the Director’s Desk: Celebrating 2023, Planning For Pavilion’s 120th Year
Dear Museum Friends,
Is 2023 nearly done already? What a year it’s been, and we have so much to celebrate. This includes major restoration to the Swedish Pavilion, the Old Mill and more, creating many engaging new ways to see the museum with both new tech and old-fashioned ingenuity, and celebrations around the 125th anniversary of the Old Mill. Overall, we’re well on pace to increase attendance in 2023 by about 1,000 to more than 7,000 guests!
Even as we celebrate these successes, we look forward to another milestone of 120 years of the Swedish Pavilion in 2024. Keep in touch, we have a lot of great plans!
We also sadly had to say farewell to Caroline de Filippis on staff as she moved with family to Kansas City and then landed a very prestigious executive fellowship. We’re now working diligently to find a new full-time staff member.
Thank you for all of your support in the last year and the years to come!
Lenora Lynam, Executive Director
Museum Gift Shop a Great Destination for Holiday Presents
The museum gift shop is a perfect place to shop for the holidays, while also supporting historic preservation and the small-town economy of Lindsborg.
In addition to great stocking stuffers – like chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, wheat snacks, and old-fashioned toys – the gift shop now also carries many new holiday-themed items.
Check out the wheat-weaving Christmas Angels, Christmas Trees, or traditional “Julbok” (or “Yule Goat”) among many other beautiful abstract wheat weaving designs at www.oldmillmuseum.org/product/wheat-straw-weavings.
Take care of Christmas card needs with special commissioned watercolor artwork of the Old Mill and Swedish Pavilion under the snow (www.oldmillmuseum.org/product/old-mill-christmas-card and www.oldmillmuseum.org/product/swedish-pavilion-christmas-card) or choose one of our Christmas-themed, “plantable” wildflower seed cards (www.oldmillmuseum.org/product/ho-ho-ho-happy-christmas-seed-card and www.oldmillmuseum.org/product/christmas-wish-seed-card).
Get that distinctive Swedish spin on the Santa Claus gnome look with new handmade tomtes (www.oldmillmuseum.org/product/tomte) and decorate this season’s tree with a special limited-edition commemorative ornament that marks the 125th anniversary of the Smoky Valley Roller Mills in 2023 (www.oldmillmuseum.org/product/old-mill-holiday-ornament).
All of these are pictured on this page, but it’s just the beginning of gifts for people in your life, available at www.oldmillmuseum.org/gift-shop. Buy from a large selection of books, unique museum souvenirs, authentic vintage flour bags, and even handicrafts made of wood recovered from the mill itself!