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Nov., 2016

As with our last annual report “what a year”— Due to By Law changes we increased the Board number to 15 and so we welcomed Paul Lewis, Alice Snodgrass, Nick Spears, Tara Cosgrove & Judy Duncan giving us the following Board for the year:

Al Chapman, Chair; Lynn Tatum, President; Sam Alps, Vice President; Judy Rickett, Treasurer; Jane Lant, Secretary; Karen Dobbs; Judy Duncan; Alice Snodgrass; Kathy Underwood; Margarette Mitchell; Nick Spears; Paul Lewis; Gene Hall; Alberta Anders & Tara Cosgrove

So much has happened during the year that it is difficult for me to summarize all but will begin with the transfer of the ownership of the Courthouse Museum from McDonald County to the Historical Society. This follows the previous transfer of ownership of the Sheriff’s House from the County that took place in 2014. As you may recall, in our last annual report we were just beginning the renovation of the 2nd floor Courtroom. This has now been completed along with the adjacent “school room” the Prosecutors Office & the stairway. This allowed Sam and her Design Committee to complete displays on the 2nd floor. She also established the 1st in a series of rotational displays—this year being vintage clothing entitled “100 Years of Clothing Fashions”. In addition, the Design Team has plans underway to expand the “Strawberry Room” to a broader based Agriculture room. The intent is to reflect other Ag industries that have been major factors in our McDonald County History.

Following the transfer of the Courthouse Museum ownership to the Historical Society, we have had to address a number of major external renovation/restoration projects necessary to preserve the building. As reported last year we obtained a grant from the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office and with those funds we brought in outside preservation architects to evaluate the building. They also provided us with information on the status of the stucco and brick exterior. We were considering whether to remove all the stucco to expose the original brick fašade. After evaluating all the information, including the fact that the stucco has been in place for some 70 years, the Board made the decision this year to retain the stucco. The Board then took the architects report under consideration and established a list of priorities based on recommendations by Paul and his Renovation/Preservation Committee. This included a new roof on the Courthouse Museum, rebuild the brick chimneys and repair and paint the existing stucco exterior. The chimney and roof replacement has been completed and the bid has been accepted by the Board for the repair and painting of the stucco. In regard to the Courthouse Museum repairs, we have spent or committed $45,000 this year to the above mentioned external renovations. The Renovation/Preservation Committee under the leadership of Paul in concert with Lynn, have steered us through the maze of acquiring the bids.

Their efforts have led to solid recommendations that assisted the Board in making their decisions.

In order for us to carry out the above-mentioned renovations the Board voted to initiate a $100,000 fund raiser, under the leadership of Lynn, to bring the infrastructure of the Courthouse Museum to the point where it would safely preserve the numerous artifacts and information displayed there. At this point, we are half way through our fund raiser. Rather than waiting until all funds are in hand, knowing how critical it is to secure water leaks, etc., we are using the funds as they are obtained. The expenditure of funds on specific projects follows the established priorities by the Board. We have spent or committed some $36,000 of the preservation fund leaving a balance as of November 1 of $12,000 for preservation expenses. As additional funds are raised, we will continue through the prioritized list of projects.

Separate from the Courthouse Museum preservation expenses & not a part of the fund raiser, Paul and the Renovation/Preservation Committee recommended, and Board accepted, the spending of some $12,000 on the Sheriff’s House. This included a new roof, painting & repair to the outside, new plumbing and bathroom fixtures as well a number of smaller items. These were all decisions that were necessary to the preservation of this historical house as well as the artifacts stored there.

As a separate budget item, the Board voted this year to set aside $10,000 as our emergency fund. Our operating fund, designed to “keep the doors open” is, as of November 1, around $18,000.

In addition to the scrutiny of our financial situation by the Board, the Board requested that Judy R. bring in an outside person (Melody Wright) to perform an outside financial review of our records. The Board is pleased that she found our financial records to be in order. This process of bringing in an outside financial reviewer will continue on an annual basis. We are also grateful to Chris Slinkard, CPA for filling out and filing our annual tax paperwork.

Al and Lynn met with Mayor Gregg Sweeten, the Pineville Council and the Pineville City Planning Committee to discuss a way forward to coordinate and work together in future planning & design of the city square in Pineville. Alberta will serve on the Pineville Planning Committee as our representative from the Board. It is our hope that the Museum will become a major tourist draw for McDonald County.

The Publications Committee chaired by Alice is continuing to publish the James Reed books, Dorothy Salmon Thompson’s book, Dorothy, Her Life and Times and she’s working on the Stan Fine publications along with a number of others opportunities set for publication this coming year.

In terms of our membership, Kathy, our Membership Chair, reported that we now have 214 members including 147 regular members and 67 “Friends” of the Society. It’s important to point out that continuing to increase our membership is critical to the wellbeing of the Society.

Kathy also served as chair of our nominating/election committee this year which will present the results of our Board/Officers election at the upcoming November (2016) Society meeting.

Due to the efforts of Karen, we brought all the 4th graders from McDonald County school system through the Museum this year and she has already initiated the process for the upcoming year. We are grateful to all the teachers that have assisted in this effort. These educational tours are in line with our Strategic planning process that took place last year, in part to emphasize education of the public on their McDonald County heritage.

We initiated the Oral History Project this year under the direction of Phyllis Chancellor. She has videotaped a number of individuals in the County who have shared their memories of McDonald County history. These interviews will be placed in the Courthouse Museum for subsequent viewing: These include, but not limited to, interviews with: Jim Tatum, Zella Mae Collie, Mary Ann Bradley, Darlene Stillons as well as Vicki Babbitt. In addition, she and Bill Martin have continued to tape the visiting lecture series at our bimonthly Historical Society meetings.

Our annual Benefit Dinner at the River Ranch on April 2, 2016, essential to the Historical Society, would have not happened without the efforts of our Co-Chairs Jane and Lynn along with numerous individuals who jumped in to help. This fund raiser brought in $11,642 to the organization, primarily to our Operating Budget. This year, we were honored to have Sondra Torchia provide us with a marvelous re-creation of what life was like during the Civil War in the Ozarks from a women’s perspective.

Alberta continues to coordinate the Docents, a group of volunteers, necessary to keep the Museum open on Fridays and Saturdays over the summer and fall. To date we have some 36 docents serving this year. She continues her efforts to increase the numbers in order that we can ensure coverage.

Margarette & Pat Chapman continue to oversee the countywide events in which the Historical Society participates. These include: Spring Open House of the Courthouse Museum, Jesse James Day, X-mas open house and accompanying parades, October Fest, New Mac meeting, History Alley, Chamber breakfast, & bimonthly meetings of the Society.

Submitted by: Al Chapman, Board Chair