MARSHALL - The museum had been looking for a home for a long time, supporters said. Now, the Lyon County Historical Museum is finally settled into a permanent location and ready to greet visitors again.
"For our board, this has been a time we've waited for for several years," said Historical Society President Neal Ingebrigtson.
Members of the Lyon County Historical Society and local community members celebrated the museum's grand opening at its new home on Lyon Street on Thursday. Although the museum collection was moved into the former Marshall library building in 2012, it's taken some time to complete renovations on the main floor.
"It's been hectic, but now we can have people come in," said museum director Jennifer Andries. Andries and workers from the community have been focused on installing new lights, carpet and displays. Renovations continue in the upper and lower levels, and cataloging the museum collection will be an ongoing job, Andries said.
Ingebrigtson said the project wouldn't have been possible without help from many people, including the Lyon County commissioners, who offered to buy the building as a permanent museum location. "We really want to thank the county for all they've done in giving us a new home."
The main floor is the only part of the museum currently open to visitors, but it packs a lot of history into a limited area. Visitors Thursday morning saw exhibits on the history of medical care in Lyon County, small-town drugstores and memorabilia celebrating milestones in Lyon County communities. Other exhibits included the Heritage Room, which recreates a Victorian parlor using woodwork and fixtures salvaged from three historic homes that once stood on West Redwood Street. The museum's vintage 1950s lunch counter was also on display, although it wasn't yet ready to serve ice cream.
Andries said hands-on features like activities for children will be part of museum exhibits. Another example visitors saw Thursday was a touch-screen computer station that makes up part of the Veterans Honor Wall. Andries said the museum is compiling a collection of profiles of Lyon County veterans, which visitors will be able to search through by using the touch-screen.
"It will be for all Lyon County veterans, whether they're from Lyon County or moved here," Andries said. Forms to add a veteran to the database are available at the museum. So far, Andries said, "We have a stack of more than 50 (profiles) to enter in."
Visitors at the grand opening had positive things to say about the new museum.
"It's just amazing. They did a really good job," said Carolyn Boerboom. Boerboom and her granddaughter Shanna Boerboom had stopped to check out part of the medical exhibit - a model light box where kids could look at X-ray pictures of the human skeleton.
Marshall resident Joshua Brumfield said he had gotten to see some of the items on display as a volunteer moving them to the new museum. It was good to see them being shared with the public, he said.
"I'm glad they were able to save as much historical stuff as they have," Brumfield said.
For Norman Teigen, the grand opening was a chance to reminisce. He looked through volumes of the Marshall High School annual in the museum's research room, finding faces he knew.
"I used to be a teacher here back in the 1960s," Teigen said. Although he lives in Hopkins now, Teigen said he enjoyed the chance to come back for a visit. "It's been amazing to come back to Marshall after all these years."
Ingebrigtson said the museum will be open Tuesday to Sunday. Weekday hours are from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., with a 7 p.m. closing time on Thursdays. Saturday hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday hours are noon-4 p.m.