Newsletter: The Museum Messenger

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Download the full print version of the The Museum Messenger in PDF format HERE.

$166K in Kansas Tax Credits Available

Get a 70% ‘Refund’ When You Support Restoring the 1904 World’s Fair Swedish Pavilion

Lindsborg Old Mill & Swedish Heritage Museum is pleased to announce they have received $166,600 in Community Service Program (CSP) Tax Credits through the Kansas Department of Commerce. The available tax credits will be used to enhance fundraising efforts for the 1904 World’s Fair Swedish Pavilion Restoration & Improvement Project.

These credits are expected to raise $238,000 in donations, which will fully cover critical stabilization repairs to prevent the possibility of a catastrophic collapse of the historic structure. It will also partially cover the cost of a new pavilion roof that will prevent leaks and be more historically accurate.

CSP is a popular program for Kansas nonprofits and public healthcare entities taking on major capital campaigns. Awarded nonprofits were chosen through a competitive application process. State tax credits reduce the total amount of taxes owed to the state. They are a way for taxpayers to substantially reduce the cost of contributing to the Lindsborg Old Mill & Swedish Heritage Museum.

Lenora Lynam, museum Executive Director, said this grant of tax credits is essential for saving and preserving the historic Pavilion for future generations.

“When we discovered the structural failure of the Pavilion last October, it was truly an existential threat to the future of the Pavilion, its history, and all the events and activity centered around it,” Lynam said. “Not to mention the concerns of water damage coming from roof leaks. This grant is win-win-win. The museum, our visitors, and the community win from the preservation of this irreplaceable building. The state wins by encouraging support for important projects statewide. And, of course, donors to the project win with this incredible opportunity to stretch their giving.”

An engineering assessment in October 2023 found that the Pavilion is leaning by up to 2 degrees, which is considered severe “racking” and visible even to untrained observers. This structural failure would lead to collapse with the wrong set of circumstances. With this information, the museum Board of Directors chose to close the Pavilion until repairs could be finished.

Museum staff also has noted that the current more than 30-year-old asphalt roof (which is not historically accurate) is starting to show serious signs of its age. There are often leaks after heavy rain or snow.

The tax credit grant provides the pathway to full structural preservation of the Pavilion and will also allow partial funding for a new reproduction composite tile roof, which will prevent leaks and restore the roofing to be more historically accurate. Both components will be put out for bid for two weeks as soon as possible and potential donors who want to give to the project and receive tax credits can start to do so now. Credits will be allotted to donors to the project on a “first come, first served” basis.

The sooner that donations under the project are received, the sooner contractors can begin the repair work to the Swedish Pavilion. After stabilization repairs are completed, the Pavilion will again be open to the public.

Businesses and individuals subject to Kansas income tax are eligible to receive a tax credit through this program. Donors giving at least $250 to the Pavilion Restoration & Improvement Project may qualify for a 70% tax credit. For example, a donor making a $1,000 gift receives a $700 tax credit when they file their state taxes, making the net cost to the donor only $300.

Contact museum staff at 785-227-3595 or to learn more about how to donate under the program.

2023 Museum Membership Match Challenge Successful!

Lindsborg Old Mill and Swedish Heritage Museum finished out 2023 strong, with $87,945 raised in the Museum Membership Match Challenge in November and December. While the Match Challenge has ended, it’s still not too late to support the museum with one-time gifts at or with an annual membership at

Millfest, Millfest for Kids Draw Hundreds in May

On May 3 and 4, Millfest and Millfest for Kids brought two days of fun, learning, and excitement to the Lindsborg community. More than 400 attended the annual Millfest event – the one time every year that the historic 1898 Smoky Valley Roller Mills operate again.

This year also included axe throwing for the first time, as well as dozens of artists and demonstrators, Swedish dancing, and music.

The Friday before at Millfest at Millfest for Kids, more than 600 students and adults accompanying them enjoyed the learning opportunity – discovering ropemaking, blacksmithing and more.

Millfest in 2025 is Saturday, May 3; we look forward to welcoming everyone next year!

See the Museum in 3D Stereograms

Thanks to permission of stereoscopic photographer Greg Perez of El Dorado, Kan., we now have an exciting new way to experience the museum. Stereograms are what  “ViewMaster” 3D viewers to used to display photography in 3D. Cut out and mount the pictures below on something sturdy, then look at them through Google Cardboard or similar viewer – or use a “crosseye” or “unfocusing” technique – and you can see the museum scenes with the illusion of depth.

You can see more stereogram images at

Members of the National Stereoscopic Association are taking more images at the museum as a part of “3D Con 2024” on July 22.

From the Director’s Desk: YOU make the difference for the museum’s future

Dear Museum Friends,

If you’ve ever owned an older home or building – especially a historic one – you know that the maintenance challenges are real.

Take that times about a dozen, and you’ll get a sense of the challenge we face at the museum as we work to preserve our many historic buildings and large artifacts.

Fortunately, the donations encouraged by the Community Service Program tax credits and grants from foundations and state agencies (see page 4) will mean we can preserve and restore our treasures for future generations.

While these grants are absolutely critical to preserve what we have – and we are so excited and grateful to have them – they do nothing to touch our annual operational budget needs.

For this, we heavily rely on generous donors and our base of museum members to keep going. That’s where you – our museum family – come in.

You – yes youhave been so generous and supportive of the museum. Thank you for all you have done and will do.


Lenora Lynam, Executive Director

Museum Restoration Projects Done or Nearing Completion

With grants from the Heritage Trust Fund, the Kansas Department of Commerce SPRINT Grant program, and the David Nutt Fund, the museum has been on a string of critical building restorations completed or nearing completion the last few months.

First, the work on the upper exterior walls of the 1898 Old Mill got its finishing touches in June as Perfect Blend Construction of Lindsborg put a protective parapet cap around the roofline edge.

Also done by Perfect Blend in June, the main museum building’s porch had seven failing posts replaced and the awning beams fixed.

Meanwhile, across the street at Heritage Square, another five structures are receiving important restoration. First, Sprowls Construction finished installing new windows in the 1904 World’s Fair Swedish Pavilion – repairing the frames and restoring it to the historically accurate “top pivot” window style.

Meanwhile, the West Kentuck one-room schoolhouse had a new roof installed by Raber Roofing, and Wheat State Paint Co. is currently repainting its exterior. Wheat State also recently finished repainting the Academy Building exterior, while Raber also completed a new roof on the Old Mill’s powerhouse building. The Museum Handy Crew volunteers are also hard at work restoring a 1908 Dempster No. 9 windmill to its original beauty.

For all that’s done or nearing completion at the museum, there’s still many funded projects that will be started soon and should be done before the end of 2024. Wheat State is already under contract to repaint the Train Depot exterior, and contracts will be awarded soon to winning bidders for a new roof on the Academy Building and masonry repair to the Old Mill powerhouse. Finally, if donors respond promptly to the tax credits opportunity, stabilizing repairs to the Swedish Pavilion can start later this summer.