MARSHALL - Lyon County Museum curator Bev Kenyon dusted off the old Schwan ice cream freezer with her hand as she spoke about her upcoming retirement after 14 years of service. Her last day is Monday, but her years of dedication to the museum and its visitors will be hard to brush away.
"It's been very rewarding," Kenyon said.
Kenyon had retired from Marshall Decorating where she had worked for 27 years when she got a call to be the curator for the Lyon County Museum. She thought then that if she didn't like it, "she could always quit," Kenyon said.
Photo by Karin Elton
Lyon County Museum curator Bev Kenyon stands on the porch which serves as an entrance to the heritage room, which will display artifacts from times past.
She ended up staying for 14 years. With a minor in history and a knack for window dressing, Kenyon has been well-suited to her job. Her duties have gone beyond pulling together an exhibit and leading tours. She has done everything from painting ceilings to wrangling volunteers.
"We've had wonderful volunteers," she said. "I thought they would go in the opposite direction when they saw me, but it's been wonderful. We have good people around here."
Finally getting a permanent home for the museum has been a highlight for Kenyon.
"We've been so fortunate," she said. "I was beside myself (at the cramped Main Street location). It was too crowded."
She loves that the museum has been able to maintain a downtown location.
"We have to be accessible to the little people," Kenyon said. "We need to teach children the value of history."
The museum is currently closed for renovations, but she said she hopes it will be open by "early spring - the first floor anyway."
She can't wait for the log cabin to be assembled in the lower level.
"That's a drawing card for kids," she said.
Kenyon said she stayed at her post to see the annual Tour of Homes fundraiser through one last time.
"That's always a fun event," she said.
Another fun activity was adding a "front porch" display to the first floor.
"There was a separate room, so we kept that and added windows," she said. "It came to me in the middle of the night that we just can't have windows for no reason."
The addition of the columns from the middle house of the three torn down West Marshall mansions and the railing from Wesley United Methodist Church created a porch effect.
"It turned out better than I had anticipated," she said.
The porch is the entrance to the heritage room.
The heritage room was one of Kenyon's many ideas, said board member Ann Carrow. Carrow has helped Kenyon on many projects through the years.
"I've enjoyed working with her," Carrow said. "She's always full of ideas. She's full of spunk and vinegar."
Carrow said the displays Kenyon put together always had some "quirky" item in them that a person had to really pay attention to in order to see it.
"She's really been a major part of the museum," Carrow said.
Kenyon's post-museum plans include volunteering at the Marshall Area Fine Arts Council.
"I was on the board for three years," she said.
Kenyon has seen the museum through some hard times - including budget constraints and the loss of the former Lyon County Historical Society director, Ellayne Conyers, who retired a few years ago.
"I ran the museum myself with the help of volunteers," Kenyon said. "That was stressful."
Kenyon said she prefers to look forward and knows the museum is in good hands with the current director, Jennifer Andries.
"I hope we get a lot more volunteers and that we can get the museum open soon," she said.