Every month, I have the opportunity to briefly share all the good work that takes place to help keep local history alive. With many helping hands, we are able to take great strides in creating a positive impact for historic preservation and local history education. It is rare that a defeat occurs for the Sarpy County Museum. However, rather than sweep it under the rug, I though I would share as it can be a good learning lesson.
About this time last year, the museum was awarded a check to restore a 100 year old job printing press that was used by the Papillion Times. Despite being a gem of local history, the press had been forgotten about for 50 years, locked in a damp, dirt floor crawlspace basement. Contact was established with the out of state owner of the commercial building where the press was located in an effort to arrange a time to retrieve the item. After a series of letters, phone calls, and emails, it was clear that the building owner was not concerned with the press, its donation, or even cash sale to the museum. Unfortunately, time ran out on the restoration grant and the funds had to be returned. Today, the press remains unused, in the basement, deteriorating and unable to be enjoyed by the public.
Despite the setback, the situation can serve as a reminder on the need to remain vigilant in efforts to keep our local history alive of our communities. It is up to those of us who care and understand to continue their intentions. For not everyone is as interested in the importance to preserve our past as we rapidly accelerate into the future. Perhaps, in the not to distant future more people will come to see the role of history in Sarpy County, Nebraska’s fastest growing county.
See you at the museum,