Museum raising funds for heritage barn
Leaders at the Quincy Valley Historical Society & Museum say there’s something missing on its popular heritage site.
On the museum grounds stands the Reiman-Simmons House, a symbol of family life in early Quincy. Also there is the Pioneer Church, which stands for the deep faith that was important to the area’s first families.
So what’s missing?
Historical society board members would like to see a barn built at the back of the property that celebrates and displays agricultural artifacts from the No. 1 source of livelihood for pioneering families – and many families today. A community heritage barn, as it is being called, also would serve as an educational center, community event venue and a family history center.
The addition of the barn would make the property complete, said Gar Pilliar of the historical society.
“We need this to understand where we have come from as a community,” added Harriet Weber, a historical society board member.
To get the heritage barn built, the historical society is applying for a state Heritage Capital Funds Grant, which would pay for about a third of the project. That means the museum must raise the other two-thirds needed.
The historical society already has raised $120,000 for the project, Weber said. It must raise another $137,500 in cash or signed pledges and $50,000 in in-kind donations, such as labor or raw materials, she said.
And it must be done by May 1.
Weber believes raising the money in six weeks is doable, especially in a community that has stepped up twice before to help fund major projects at the museum. The historical society has received two Heritage Capital Funds Grants in the past, for a renovation project at the Reiman-Simmons House and the Pioneer Church project. And the state has encouraged the museum to apply for the third grant, Weber added.
“I think this is a project the community can be proud of,” she said. “I think the money is out there. We just have to find it.”
The community heritage barn, designed by local architect Philip Lust, is divided into several sections. The largest area at the center is a 1,700-square-foot event space that would be used as an educational area or for such community events as a farmers market, Weber said. It also could be used by people for family reunions, receptions or other events. That area would include a catering kitchen.
Another section of the barn would be built as a museum quality archive to house the historical society’s collections, including the photo collection of photographer Otto Henderson, who documented Quincy in its early years. (Currently, the museum’s archive is in the basement of the Reiman-Simmons House.) Near the archive area would be a family history center that would be open for public use.
Another area of the barn would be dedicated as an agriculture exhibit space with hands-on, interactive displays and working models. There are even plans to move vintage farm equipment into the space. The exhibit would cover the early days of horse-and-mule farming to today’s technology-based farming, Weber said.
Weber already has reached out to the city of Quincy, asking for its help financing the project. She also is reaching out to key industries in Quincy as well as ag-related businesses and area farming families. She welcomes the chance to speak to any group about the proposed community heritage barn.
For more information, contact Weber at 398-1949.
— By Jill FitzSimmons, email@example.com