Behind-the-scenes tours begin at ACHS

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May 4, 2011 - 12:00 AM

An abundance of hidden treasures await visitors who take behind-the-scenes tours of the Helen Henderson Research Library and Maj. Gen. Frederick Funston Research Library, maintained by the Allen County Historical Society.
“There are so many articles and artifacts we have in storage that never make the display windows because there just isn’t enough room,” said Jeff Kluever executive director of the Allen County Historical Society.
Some of the wonders stashed away include original artworks by Gary Hawk and World War II letters from Allen County soldiers. There are drawers full of information about Billy Sunday, the poor farm, Bowlus Fine Arts Center, as well as local schools and teachers.
There is a application from a teacher applying for a job who originally asked for $75 a month, but added, if given the job, would take $70, or even $60 a month. Jobs during the Great Depression were hard to come by and the woman obviously wanted a job, Kluever said.
The two libraries are good places to look for photos from early Allen County history, and to do research for school papers or genealogy. The Henderson library contains old city directories dating back to 1899, old plat books and school yearbooks from 1912 to 1990. There is information and letters from wars dating back to the Civil War.
Items contained in the Henderson library are being cataloged on a computer to expedite the time needed to locate specific information, Kluever said. Information in the Funston library has already been digitized.
The Funston library contains scrapbooks and copies of Funston’s articles and letters. There are also numerous newspaper articles about Funston’s accomplishments, and many of Funston’s personal items, including his baby bracelet, a knife, medals and the flag that draped his casket may be seen in the library.
“One of our prized possessions is a letter to Gen. Funston from President William McKinley,” Kluever said.
The Henderson library is located inside the Allen County Historical Museum at 20 S. Washington. The Funston library is next door at 14 S. Washington.
The Historical museum is open 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. People may visit the Henderson library during regular museum hours but access to the Funston library is by appointment only. All research must be done at the museums, no materials may be removed from the premises.
To make an appointment to visit the Funston library or to arrange a behind-the-scenes tour, call the museum at 365-3051.

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