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Archive for Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Museum celebrates 25 years at Clinton Lake

A local museum focusing on the former towns that now make up Clinton Lake is turning 25 this weekend.

June 18, 2008

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The Clinton Lake museum will celebrate its 25th year Saturday with the sanctioning of its new name and the selection of a new sculpture to be built on the museum grounds.

The museum has a lot to celebrate, director Martha Parker said.

"We recently got a $2,000 grant from the Kansas Arts Commission," she said. "Everything is happening at once."

The grant will be used to help pay for cataloguing artifacts, a job usually done by college students, Parker said.

The museum has been using its new name The Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum for a couple of years, but Saturday's event officially marks the rededication of the museum under the name, Parker said.

The selection of a new sculpture and its artist will highlight the night. The museum board is selecting from four artists and their proposals, which were submitted earlier this year. The selected artist will build the sculpture at the base of what will become Freedom's Light, a beacon that should be seen for miles, Parker said.

The light and sculpture will represent the Clinton area's Civil War-era Underground Railroad heritage. The museum is on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom listing.

The final four artists considered for the sculpture project were John Hachmeister, associate professor of art at Kansas University; Walt Hull, a Lawrence blacksmith; Stephen Johnson, a Lawrence artist; and Erika Nelson, a Lucas artist.

The selected artist will receive a $35,000 commission to make the sculpture.

The light beacon will be on the top of a 35-foot tall windmill donated last year by the late Tensie Oldfather.

A birthday cake large enough to feed at least 100 people will bear the logo of the winning sculpture.

Although the celebration isn't a fundraiser, the museum is continuing its efforts to raise money to build a new museum. Plans for a new, 5,000-square-foot museum will be on display.

"It's functional. It has what we need," Parker said.

The new museum is expected to cost at least $400,000.

The event starts at 7 p.m. To make reservations call (785) 748-0772.

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