Museum a treasure trove of Eudora history
The history on display at the old schoolhouse downtown is probably nothing the building's former occupants would have found in their textbooks.
The history museum housed at the Eudora Community Learning Center, at Ninth and Main streets, focuses on the history of this small corner of the world. Located on the lower level of the north end of the building, the museum is spread across a former classroom.
Where a map might have once hung in front of a chalkboard now sits a stage backdrop from the Hesper school. The ornate nature of the script in the advertising and the bucolic scene -- as well as the three-digit telephone numbers in the ads -- testify to the item's bygone era.
Where desks would have lined the former classroom are display cases filled with items as varied as old schoolbooks, military memorabilia and eating utensils sold at Pilla's Department Store.
The museum was open for the CPA Picnic in July and will be open Saturday during EudoraFest.
Last Thursday morning, Glenn and Joyce Wineinger worked at the museum, poking around items like a cabinet for sorting mail donated by former Eudora post office clerk the late Paul Sommer. Nearby lay a cylindrical contraption that didn't appear as though it would be too effective at its intended use as a vacuum cleaner.
"They had this at a meeting, and we were supposed to guess what it was," Joyce Wineinger said.
The couple are part of the Eudora Area Historical Society, which meets every other month. The couple said getting the museum together when space at the former school became available was a group project borrowing the efforts of other society members like Jim Harris, Patty Johnston, Martha Harris, Rex Burkhardt and Steve Neis.
In addition to help from locals, some of the museum's pieces are displayed in cases acquired locally from the old Trefz Variety Store.
"When my son was young he remembers getting bubble gum in that variety store," said Joyce, who herself remembers buying sewing supplies there.
Other display cases were left over from the Watkins Community Museum of History in Lawrence, where Glenn Wineinger volunteers as a greeter and may be picking up a few tips about curating a history museum.
"I'm trying to," he said.
The museum encompasses items and information pertinent to Eudora, such as a table not yet on display made by the Schubert funeral home in Eudora, to random items from the past like a working phonograph that can still play records like Peggy King singing "The Gentleman in the Next Apartment."
The Wineingers said many of the museum's pieces came from the basements and attics of historical society members, including themselves.
"We want to have a place where we can store and keep items," Glenn Wineinger said.
The Community Learning Center also has a room for storing items yet to be displayed and other documents that curators hope will assist those doing genealogical or other local history research.
"We just hoped for this and hoped for that," he said. "This has really worked out keen."
Curators are planning a grand opening for the museum in the future. Until then, the local history items will be on display from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at EudoraFest. The museum is on the lower level of the Eudora Community Learning Center. Visitors may enter through the north door, and the items are in the first room on the right.