In the On the Porch column, I write about various topics relating to Lyon County history. This week, I decided to write about the history of the Lyon County Historical Society and the need to increase our membership. The history of the society will give you a better idea of our purpose.
The Lyon County Historical Society mission statement is: "The purpose of the society shall be the collection, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge about the history of Lyon County and to relate it to the history of the region and the state of Minnesota." The society was formally founded in 1954, but some records show earlier attempts at organization. In 1957, the society created a museum within a Great Northern Railroad baggage coach located alongside the Lyon County Courthouse. When this coach was damaged by a storm in the mid-1960s, the artifacts were moved to the basement of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Tracy and at the Lyon County fairgrounds.
In 1968, exhibits were created in the lower level of the Marshall-Lyon County Library Eventually, the library needed the space and the exhibits were dismantled and moved back into storage. The photograph featured this week are the LCHS board members in 1969.
In 1975, the society was given the original 1892 Lyon County/District courtroom at the courthouse to use as a museum. Some of the society's artifacts were moved and displayed in the new space, but much remained in storage. As the county prepared to expand its space and demolish the original part of the courthouse, the society was again looking for museum space In 1994, the society moved to the Knights of Columbus building on 3rd Street. This location provided s space for growth in the collection and exhibits. The museum remained in this space until 2009, when the society moved to 356 W. Main St.
In 2012, the county purchased the former library building, providing a permanent home for the society. We are very fortunate to have a permanent home and a large space for exhibits and storage.
Throughout the years and many moves, the society has maintained a membership, which continues to grow in size. LCHS members provide support to the museum in terms of operating expenses, exhibits, and preservation materials. Their generosity is greatly appreciated for helping to maintain the museum. For anyone interested in becoming a member of the society, the dues and levels are: $25+/Individual, $35+/Couple-Family, $100+/Business, and $300+/Benefactor annually. Membership benefits include: subscription to our quarterly newsletter, vote at our annual meeting, periodic membership appreciation events and discounts on gift shop/ice cream shop, and knowing that you are helping to preserve the history of Lyon County!
For more information on joining our membership or wanting to know more about LCHS, please contact the Lyon County Museum at 507-537-6580, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook.