Museum’s old-fashioned fundraiser to feature dancing in the street

There will be dancing in the street on the night of Aug. 11 outside Watkins Community Museum of History.

The museum and the Douglas County Historical Society will have a dinner and dance fundraiser for the museum, 1047 Mass.

“It should be a fun evening,” said Carmela Sibley, president of the historical society.

The event will coincide with the annual Civil War on the Western Frontier commemoration in Lawrence, which will be Aug. 9-21.

The historical society wants to close 11th Street from Massachusetts to Vermont streets for the dance, but it still needs to obtain permission from the city of Lawrence. Bluegrass band Pastensewill perform some period music. The band is led by Diane Gillenwater.

Those attending the dance or the dinner are encouraged to wear period costumes.

“There will be people there in appropriate costumes but they won’t necessarily be ball gowns,” Sibley said. “Some people may be there in formal wear and some may dress informally. A lot of people like the idea of a masquerade.”

Although the event occurs during the Civil War commemoration, the clothing doesn’t have to be from that era.

The catered dinner will begin at 7 p.m. on the third floor of the museum. Tickets for the dinner are $40 and can be ordered by calling the museum at 841-4109 or visiting the museum. The dance, which starts at 8:30 p.m., is free.

“We’ve been thinking about ways to generate interest in the museum to make it more open to the community,” Sibley said. “We want people to come down and see what we have. The displays are improving.”

The museum is taking advantage of grants to bring in more traveling exhibits over the next several months, director Rebecca Phipps said. For example, an exhibit on the contemporary American cowgirl will be on display from Dec. 15 to Jan. 19.