POMEROY — Banjos and fiddles played, and a bell rang as local residents made a visit to the reopened Meigs County Museum, which is now housed in the annex building next door.
The museum closed late last year for maintenance and was moved to the newer building last November. Friday marked the official reopening, with refreshments, music by Liz and Lynn Shaw, both of Meigs County, and of of course, exhibits for all to see.
The first exhibit of the new year, “Rural Life,” showcases aspects of life in Meigs County from the 1870s through to 1890s. The areas of focus include farming, woodworking and blacksmithing. There is an exhibit on the hearth and home, as well.
Some of the highlights include a 19th century travel forge, which was used by blacksmiths and could be transported; letters that date to as early as 1834; and an old newspaper from the area, the Pomeroy Mosquito, which included obituaries and local news. The specific paper on display, from 1885, talks about a local woman who accidentally ate lye and burned skin off her face and tongue, among other tidbits of local gossip.
New to the museum is a children’s area that will continue to develop throughout the year. The museum is currently seeking a sponsor for children’s activities that will take place one weekend each month. This month’s will be the weekend of Jan. 30, in which children will be putting safely together either a wooden birdhouse or toolbox.
The new hours will be 1-5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. The museum will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
The museum also has a plan for the coming year by featuring rotating exhibits. The current “Rural Life” exhibit will be expanded to include a display on U.S. Presidents in February. In March and April, the feature will be fraternal orders of the past and present in the county. For May and June there will be an exhibit highlighting past schools in the county, as well as women’s past fashions. The July and August exhibits will revolve around the Meigs County Fair and will include youth programs such as 4-H, FFA and Grange.
In time for the Sternwheel Riverfest in September, the exhibits will focus on the impact of river life on the county, with a special focus on sternwheelers, coal and salt. Additionally in October, a section will be added on ghost stories. November’s exhibit will be dedicated to veterans, past and present. December will feature a Victorian Christmas, as well as history of local churches.
The Meigs County Museum and Historical Society is also home to the Meigs County Genealogical Society. Various books and information for genealogy research are available. While research will not be available during the opening weekend, it will be during regular hours. While work is being completed in the main building, research may be limited at times.
The current officers are: Gary Coleman, president; Jordan Pickens, first vice president; Carrie Gloeckner, second vice president; Susan Clark-Dingess, third vice president; Calee Pickens, reporting secretary; Patty Grosnickle, corresponding secretary; Vicki Hanson, financial secretary; Chloris Gaul-McQuaid, treasurer; Liz Shaw, assistant treasurer; and Mary Grace Cowdery, historian.
Jordan Pickens thanked everyone for their support during the event and said the museum is for the community.
“It’s great that we’ve had a lot of people show up to support local history,” he said. “It means a lot to our Society that people care enough that when we do something like this, we’re not doing it for nothing. We’re doing this for them; this is their historical society. We’re just elected to keep these doors opened and keep these artifacts preserved.”
The museum and annex are located at 144 Butternut Ave. in Pomeroy.
For more information on the museum, the society and Meigs County history, visit meigschs.org, the organization’s Facebook page, or call (740) 992-3810.
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555.