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Plans progress at Legacy of the Plains Museum
August 07, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
With some recent help from Gering’s Keno fund, progress on the Legacy of the Plains Museum continues to roll along.

Last week, members of the Gering City Council approved $20,000 from the city’s Keno fund to help expand the museum geothermal heating and cooling plant. The museum will use matching capital funds to cover the remaining $72,000 needed for the upgrade.

“There are still a lot of needs in our expansion project,” said LPM director Katie Bradshaw. “We’re looking to every funding source we can and Gering Keno had helped out with the initial installation of the system. It was logical to ask them if they would help us extend the system.”

The upgraded geothermal system is needed to meet the needs of the additional buildings the museum has built as part of their expansion.

“It’s really great to have a geothermal system because it’s so energy efficient, particularly for cooling,” Bradshaw said. “We’re lucky to have all this ground around the museum where the geothermal tubes could be installed.”

The expansion will include two new blower units and ductwork. Bradshaw said she hopes the work can be done quickly before the end of the tourism season.

The museum is planning to have its first exhibit open in time for their annual Harvest Festival, scheduled for Sept. 20 – 21.

Bradshaw called the exhibit the “preshow introduction room,” where visitors first enter the gallery. The 12-foot-high walls will have murals from floor to ceiling. A video slide show is also being created to explain what exhibits are featured in the gallery.

The rest of the exhibits that will go in the main gallery are still waiting for construction to be completed.

“Things are under sheets right now because of the construction dust,” Bradshaw said. “We’ll be working on interim exhibits in the back in part because it’s difficult to just set everything up at once. But we don’t want to be under construction for another tourism season.”

Interim exhibits are planned through 2015. The gallery will then be closed in early 2016 and permanent exhibits installed.

“It’s a continual process,” Bradshaw said. “If you’re not aggressively developing and staging events, the people don’t come. It’s the public support that keeps us going.”

One of the museum major fundraisers is coming up on Saturday, Sept. 13 – the Country Gold concert. Featured will be classic country artists Jimmy Fortune (from the Statler Brothers), Leroy Van Dyke (“The Auctioneer”) and Rex Allen Jr.

The concert starts at 6 p.m. at Five Rocks Amphitheater south of Gering. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for kids age 6-12 and kids under 6 are free. Ticket outlets include the Legacy of the Plains Museum, Co-Op locations, Platte Valley Banks, Pinnacle Bank in Mitchell and WESTCO in Alliance.

“Even if someone can’t attend the concert, it would be great if they bought a ticket,” Bradshaw said. “Thanks to our sponsors, all our expenses are covered. All proceeds from ticket sales go straight to the museum. But I still think people will want to be there because we’re featuring some great performers. Jimmy Fortune was here two years ago and people really enjoyed him.”
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