By Ron Brown
KERBY, Ore. — Many of our regions small museums and historical societies are struggling to maintain their collections and buildings. For the Kerbyville Museum in Josephine County, it’s a never-ending struggle to pay the bills and preserve history.
Dennis Strayer is the director of Kerbyville Museum, which is also part of the Historic Nauke House property. Strayer is excited about a new display focusing on the Rogue Indian Wars that opened this spring. He’s also excited about a DVD the museum is selling containing more than 2,500 photos from the museum’s collection. Sale of the DVD is timed to help raise matching funds to finish restoration of the Nauke House.
“It’s part of our mission to preserve the past and this house is original to the property. Mr. William Nauke came here in 1879, and for $5 at a sheriff auction, he got this almost 2 acres of land and had the house built for his family,” says Strayer.
It was a store, post office and stage stop on the road to the coast. So far, the windows have been replaced and the front porch rebuilt, all with donations and grant money.
“In the process of raising the deck, people in wheel chairs can now access the house, at least on the first floor. So that is a new development, and one that we’re really happy about,” Strayer says.
But it’s painting of the outside, about $25,000 worth, that now needs to be done.
For a lot of small historic societies and museums around our area, funding is a constant problem. When it comes to trying to restore a building, it becomes a major expense. So selling DVD’s of the photos from the museums collection is one way to help raise money to get this project done.
The museum has also raised entrance fees slightly and is raffling off a dollhouse replica of the Nauke House for five dollars a ticket. An old-fashioned ice cream social is planned for Sunday, July first to coincide with the Kerby High School re-union, to help raise money for the restoration project. For more information on the Kerbyville Museum, click here.