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Posted on Sep 7, 2018

Historical society pushes heritage barn toward the finish line

The new Celebration of Cultures is about five weeks away, and officials of its organizing group, the Quincy Valley Historical Society & Museum, are determined that the new Community Heritage Barn will be open by then.
The president of the historical society, Ed Field, and its director of operations, Harriet Weber, spoke at the Aug. 30 lunch meeting of the Quincy Rotary Club and gave details of the status of the barn project, along with an enthusiastic request for support. In the final stages of construction, the project needs about $100,000 to get over the finish line. And they are determined that the barn will be open for the Celebration of Cultures on Oct. 13.
Field, who is a longtime Rotary Club member, said that the barn is changing the heritage park as well as the historical society. He described the value of the Reiman-Simmons House and Pioneer Church – the two prominent buildings in the heritage park – as holding the best of the old. Now, with the barn, “we are going to have the best of the new,” he said.
Field turned over most of the time to Weber, calling her the heart of the heritage park. She is also an honorary member of the Rotary Club.
Weber said that with her background in teaching she wants the heritage park to focus on education.
“We have tried to craft programs that engage (people) in the stories of our town,” Weber said.
And the story of Quincy is that its people have always had big dreams.
Today, one of Quincy’s big dreams is a very nice addition to the heritage park, a spacious barn with modern exhibits and high-tech ways of engaging visitors. Weber said there are plans even for developing a virtual reality experience for visitors. The high-tech parts are going to set the barn apart from other small museums, she said, but the pairing is natural in Quincy – known as the place were agriculture and technology meet.
Weber has led the barn project, gathered local support and donors and pushed it forward despite numerous difficulties. She said a lot of private donations have come in and some of the funding has been public money. Early on, the project was expected to cost around $550,000, she said, and now it looks like the total will come closer to $850,000 in the end.
The society seeks donation partners for the remaining $100,000 needed to complete the project. To help, contact Weber at 398-1949, or anyone on the board of the Quincy Valley Historical Society & Museum.
Field said the heritage barn will be exciting for children, and “this is not your father’s museum.” He added that the historical society is eager to move in and use the barn.
And so are people planning special events – Weber said people have already been asking to book the barn, and it will have to be ready for those events.

By Dave Burgess,