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Docents contribute to historical museum restoration project

OCHS Board of Directors Mark Simms, Frank Lorenzo, Frank Mayer, Julia Wilson and Shirley Roberts listen attentively as Museum Curator Barbara Pease explains how artifacts are stored and handled. Pease is holding a vintage beaded Native American handbag, secured on an acid-free board.
OCHS Board of Directors Mark Simms, Frank Lorenzo, Frank Mayer, Julia Wilson and Shirley Roberts listen attentively as Museum Curator Barbara Pease explains how artifacts are stored and handled. Pease is holding a vintage beaded Native American handbag, secured on an acid-free board.

The first meeting of 2014 for the Osage County Historical Society Board of Directors was filled with exciting updates and recognition of hundreds of volunteer hours by museum docents.

Museum Curator/Manager Barbara Pease said locals Ron Silva and Gordon Johnston worked miracles in rescuing smoke-damaged oil paintings. She said the quality of their work paralleled that being done by a nationally acclaimed service in Chicago, Ill.

“Silva and Johnston were responsible for restoring the original Henry Grammar painting, which will be the main exhibit in our Western Room,” said Pease. “Because of their excellent research and familiarity with our community, these two gentlemen are actually better qualified in matching skin tones, etc., for our area.”

Board member Nancy Woodyard said work is continuing on the bronze bust of the late Betty White Smith, original Museum Curator and benefactor. The bust is a gift of artist Lee Barnheisel, daughter of renowned sculptor Jim Hamilton. John Free Jr., of the Bronze Horse, volunteered his labor to complete the sculpture.

OCHS President Jack Shoemate announced a special event is being planned for March 15th to recognize the museum’s many supporters, particularly in the aftermath of the early January fire. Museum officials anticipate it will take another year before the Historical Museum is fully up and running, however this “invitation only” event will include pre-opening tours of the museum and an insider look into the museum’s inner workings.

Pease also acknowledged two volunteers who have gone above and beyond in adding special touches to the newly renovated facility.

“Larry Taylor of Bartlesville and Errol Heath of Pawhuska have worked nonstop on gallery railings and display cases,” said Pease. “We would not be as far along today if it were not for their dedication and hours of sweat equity.”

Once open, the new Osage County Historical Society Museum will host never-before-seen exhibits that will make it a visitor destination.

“Memberships are affordable and enable the museum to remain self-sustaining,” said Pease. “New memberships will also qualify for our March 15th event.”

The OCHS Museum is on Facebook and has a website, www.osagecountyhistoricalsociety.com.

Although the main portion of the museum is not ready for viewing, the gift shop is up and running and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

For additional information, call 918-287-9119. The Osage County Historical Society Museum is located at 700 Lynn Avenue in Pawhuska.

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