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Museum readies for big move
July 03, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - North Platte Valley Museum volunteers (from left) Barb Jolliffe, Sandy Strey and Cynde Gaiser pack up a few of the thousands of items to be moved to the museum’s new location at the Farm And Ranch Museum.

People who want to take another look around the North Platte Valley Museum at 11th and J Streets in Gering have until Aug. 16 before the building closes permanently.

After that date, the museum will move to the Farm And Ranch Museum (FARM) near the Scotts Bluff National Monument. The new combined museums will be called Legacy of the Plains Museums (LPM).

“We’re having an open house during Oregon Trail Days,” said LPM Director Katie Bradshaw. “We wanted people who are back in town to have the opportunity to come out to the museum.”
Admission to the North Platte Valley Museum is free on July 12 – 13. Hours are from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Friday and from the end of the parade to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Recently, a group of junior high kids toured both museums and Bradshaw talked about how museums are designed. The kids created boxes that showed how they would design their own museum. Their work is on display at the museum through Aug. 16.

“I got the kids thinking about how to create a museum gallery,” Bradshaw said. “What they created we call Gallery in a Box.”
She also hopes some of the kids will join them on the wagon LPM has entered in the Oregon Trail Days parade. Their float will be an old covered wagon pulled by an antique tractor, symbolic of the merger of the two museums.

Another display at the museum dates back decades. Each year, museum volunteers create a custom designed quilt to be raffled off in September. Wanda Mowry, this year’s Oregon Trail Days Honorary Old Settlers Vice President, has headed up the group since the beginning.
This year’s quilt has a cloth medallion on the reverse side that reads “Legacy of the Plains Quilters,” the first of its kind.

Tickets for the quilt are $1 each and the drawing will be during the Harvest Festival in September. All proceeds support the museums.
Bradshaw said LPM will also have a booth at the International Food Festival on Friday, July 12 in downtown Gering during Oregon Trail Days.
“People can buy tickets to our Marty Stuart concert and get more information about the project to combine both museums,” she said.
The first items to be moved to the new museum will be the archives, including old newspapers, maps, photos and the Paul and Helen Henderson Collection of historic documents.

“The archives are moving first because we already have the space at FARM,” she said. “We should have those moved in late July or early August.”
The museum exhibits will take a bit longer to move. Museum staff has already tagged all the items for referencing when they’re packed away.
“How the move goes depends on how much of the new museum is completed,” Bradshaw said. “The new annex is getting down quickly, so some of the tractors will go there. Our exhibits will be in the existing museum building, but that will change as we go along.”

LPM has sold the North Platte Valley Museum building to the City of Gering and their Parks Department will move into those new quarters by Oct. 1.
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