Community makes museum a reality in Johnson County

Published: Apr. 24, 2018 at 10:42 AM CDT
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A community effort saved some old buildings in Tecumseh, and provided a home for the county's memories.

During a recent visit to Tecumseh, we learned more about the Johnson County Museum. The building that the museum is in has plenty of history. The two buildings that house the museum were built in the late 1800's, and served many purposed through the years. "In 2010, the city was ready to demolish both buildings, because in one of them, the roof was in the basement. It had sat empty for many years," Johnson County Museum representative Sarah Williamson said. "There were some interested people in town who didn't want to see the buildings demolished, so they went to the city council to get permission to save them. The city council said, you have one year to enclose the building, and it's yours," Williamson said.

In one year, a roof was put on, the windows were put in, and the building met the expectations of the city council. Williamson says the buildings were then under the control of what she called the "LLC". She says the "LLC" was looking to sell the buildings to a business, but eventually decided to donate the buildings to the Johnson County Historical Society.

The historical society then took on the project, and it was all volunteer. The community and the county donated money to start the renovations. "It was a huge county community effort," Williamson said.

In the museum you will see vignettes or scenes of the history of the county. On the first floor, you see scenes of how the county originated. You will also see a room dedicated to schools, sports, and to the military. On the second floor there is a unique exhibit featuring women and children through the years. And, there are several displays showing the shops of the early days of the county.