Marion County historical group to reorganize June 20

After a 25-year absence, the Marion County Histori­cal Society is having a reorganizational meeting at 5:30 p.m. June 20 at the Harvey House in Florence.<p>Peggy Blackman, MCHS president, said the agenda includes a final review of the constitution and by-laws, setting membership guidelines and fees and electing directors.<p>“We will also be establishing goals for the society in forming a museum and historical site network to preserve and publicize Marion County’s rich history,” she said. “(This meeting) is an open invitation for others to join us.”<p>Blackman said the meeting is for those with an interest in the United States, how the west was settled and Marion County’s role in the country as we know it today.<p>“The Harvey House will open at 4:30 p.m. for those who would like to tour the facility before the meeting,” she said. <p>Marion County museums and historical sites include Burns, Durham, Goessel, Florence Harvey House, Hillsboro, Lehigh, Lincoln­ville, Marion County Lake, Marion, Peabody, Pilsen, Tampa, Marion County Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail  and other historical schools, churches, buildings, trails and more. <p>Some of the sites have regular hours, some are by appointment only and some have not established set hours, she said.<p>Blackman spoke to the Marion County Board of Commissioners in May about bringing the MCHS under the county’s 501(c)3 umbrella.<p>In the revised constitution and by-laws, she said, the cost of setting up a 501(c)(3) with the Internal Revenue Service is $3,000, and the money would come from the museum and other county entities. <p>“It’s a lot of money when using charitable donations,” she said. “But, being under the county’s umbrella would also mean federal funding, which could improve our tour situation by bringing tourists in.”<p>County Counselor Susan Robson reported back to the commissioners in a memorandum about the society’s request for inclusion in the county’s 501(c)3. The society should have more oversight/involvement if they wanted to use the county’s DUNs (Dun & Bradstreet) number or tax exempt status.<p>Blackman said the organization has $2,800, but it’s going to take money to operate, print brochures and advertise. Even though the commission didn’t support the MCHS request as a 501(c)3, it does pay up to $50 a month to each museum to assist with utility costs.<p>Robson said she would help the group when they are ready to proceed with the paperwork for the 501(c)3 as part of her county counselor work, which would reduce the out-of-pocket expense to the MCHS. <p>Other members of the MCHS board include Patty Traxson of Peabody, secretary; Anita Boese of Hills­boro; Robert Harris of Florence; Fern Bartel of Goessel; Melissa Stuchlik of Pilsen with the Father Kapaun Museum; and Steve Schmidt of McPherson, Santa Fe Trail Association in Marion County.<p>For more information about the MCHS, call Blackman at 620-382-2541 or email her at: 65blackman@sbcglobal.net.