Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Part II: Preserving memories in West Concord April 1, 2015

WHAT DEFINES A MUSEUM?

Collections? History? Preserving the past?

All three fit the definition. Yet, it is memories which make a museum personal.

A commemorative plate from West Concord.

A commemorative plate from the small southeastern Minnesota farming community of West Concord.

The West Concord Historical Society, housed in a former school, boasts an incredible museum that showcases West Concord area history. I didn’t grow up here. I don’t live here. Yet, I connected.

Join me on a photo tour showing snippets of what this museum holds.

IN THE HERITAGE ROOM:

I expect many visitors would image Sunday dinner at Grandma's house when viewing this scene.

I expect many visitors will remember Sunday chicken dinners or holidays at Grandma’s house when viewing this scene.

IN THE CARDINAL ROOM:

The school was once home to the West Concord school Cardinals. An entire classroom is devoted to all things Cardinal. this proves a popular place during class reunions.

The school was once home to the West Concord Cardinals. An entire classroom is devoted to Cardinals memorabilia. This exhibit proves a popular place to tour during West Concord High School class reunions. The school closed in 1991. West Concord is now part of Triton Public Schools where the mascot is a cobra.

A cheerleading uniform.

A cheerleading uniform.

A majestic band uniform preserved.

A majestic band uniform displayed along with school trophies.

I was thrilled to find a collection of school yearbooks.

I was thrilled to find a collection of school yearbooks.

Wearing Cardinal pride.

Wearing Cardinal pride.

IN THE FARMERS & MERCHANTS ROOM:

From a local beauty shop.

From a local beauty shop.

IN THE VETERANS ROOM:

Between two military uniforms, I shot this view of a 48-star American flag.

Between military uniforms, I shot this view of a 48-star American flag.

Books and documents are also displayed in The Veterans Room.

Books and documents are also displayed in The Veterans Room.

IN THE SHELL ROOM:

Old radiators in The Shell Room, which features a collection of shells donated by Burton Goddard and Miriam Goddard.

Old radiators in The Shell Room, which features a collection of shells donated by West Concord alumni Burton Goddard and Miriam Goddard.

IN THE 50’s & 60’s ROOM:

Feelin' groovy...a snippet of 1960s art.

Feelin’ groovy…a snippet of 1960s art.

A fondue pot. I remember using a fondue pot in my high school home economics class.

I remember using a fondue pot in my high school home economics class in the 1970s.

Sit a spell in this 60s corner or lose some inches on that exercise equipment, left.

Sit a spell in this 60s corner or lose some inches on that exercise equipment, left. Well, consider it, but don’t actually do it.

A 1950s place setting. I collection vintage tablecloths.

A 1950s place setting. I collect vintage tablecloths.

IN THE FASHION ROOM:

Clothing and sewing equipment from times past suggests how far a generation or two have come.

Clothing and sewing equipment span generations in The Fashion Room.

IN THE HALLWAY:

An old radiator and old windows.

An old radiator and old windows show the character of this aged former school.

IN THE MARY DELZER ROOM:

Remember making these silhouettes from black construction paper? I hadn't thought about these in decades. Janis Ray had her students create these profiles each year as a gift to their parents.

Remember making these silhouettes from black construction paper? I hadn’t thought about these in decades. Former educator and WCHS director Janis Ray had her elementary aged students create these profiles each year as a gift to their parents. These are displayed in a room dedicated to education and in which Janis taught.

IN GRANDMA’S ATTIC:

In Grandma's Attic you can buy garage sale type items, like these lamps, with proceeds benefiting the WCHS.

In Grandma’s Attic you can buy garage sale type items, like these lamps, with proceeds benefiting the WCHS. I really should have purchased the two matching lamps. Aren’t they fabulous?

IN THE OFFICE:

A recent donation awaits research and placement.

A recent donation awaits research and placement.

School letters left-over from West Concord High School are available for purchase.

School letters and numbers left over from West Concord High School are available for purchase. West Concord is now part of Triton Public Schools (West Concord, Dodge Center and Claremont). West Concord Public Charter School, however, is open in the community.

FYI: If you missed my first post on the West Concord Historical Society museum, click here. Today’s post is the second in a three-part series.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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16 Responses to “Part II: Preserving memories in West Concord”

  1. Marilyn Says:

    I love them all – but the green dishes are my favourite. That was the colour I wanted to use in every room of my house, back when I was designing home interiors in Home Economics class in the 60s. Then I took a hard look at the tablecloth under it and realised that it is the same as the dish cloth I have at the bottom of the stack and never use because it was my hubby’s Grandma’s and is edged with a fantastic crocheted border. Memories have certainly been stirred tonight!

    • I’m happy I could bring back some wonderful memories for you, Marilyn. Those green dishes were among my favorite museum pieces also. As you may guess, green is my favorite color.

      How wonderful that you have that same tablecloth. Pull it from the bottom of your drawer and display it somewhere. I love to use my vintage items.

  2. Dan Traun Says:

    What a wonderful slice of history. Love the orange and avocado colors. I had forgotten all about those silhouette drawings. What’s that hip/butt jiggler called (60’s corner)?

  3. Loving Part II – the Beauty Salon and the fondue pot – AWESOME 🙂 I still have my silhouette and need to frame it one of these days. Happy Day – Enjoy!

  4. Great post thanks for sharing once again.

  5. This is terrific! I so recognize the green table setting! I swear my mother had something similar. You know you’re getting old when your childhood memories are ensconced quite successfully in a museum!

  6. Beth Ann Says:

    I can’t pick a favorite picture out of all of these! These are amazing shots and you captured every nook and cranny of this really special place. Thanks for sharing!


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