Personal Exhibits Take Museum Spotlight

Judy Kramer
County Reporter

 The Benton County Museum will open on April 6, with expectations of a growing number of visitors. Numerous historical, personal collections, on loan from local residents will be on display this year as well as a Centerpiece display of Dr. Gus C. Salley.

“We were very pleased with the response from residents when we requested the loan of personal collections,” said Marsha Eaton, who is gathering and displaying the artifacts. “Some of the items available for viewing are metal lunch boxes, automobile oil cans, arrowheads, pocket watch fobs, silver spoons, antique buttons, beaded purses, moon and star glassware and brown tealeaf ironstone dishes.  We also have Hesston men’s belt buckles, a shaving collection, rock collection and brass tire pumps.”
The Benton County Historical Society (BCHS) Board Member Carter Kinkead said there is an ongoing effort to identify some of the 5,000 babies that Dr. Salley delivered in the area, and a group will meet in the summer for that purpose. 
“We want to publicize this great man at the museum, so people know how much a part he played in the history of our community,” said Kinkead. “His was one of the homestead families in the area, one of the first physicians, a politician and pilot. I remember having a serious health problem when I was just starting school, and I needed to be transported to Kansas City in a hurry.  Dr. Salley flew me to the hospital in his own plane. Another time, he delivered triplets on the way to Kansas City – one before getting on the plane, one on the plane, and the third upon arrival in the City.”
The Historical Society expects more visitors to the museum this summer, in keeping with the increases occuring each year, and because more signage has been placed around the county to attract tourists. Kinkead and Eaton also credit Lynette Stokes, with Benton County Tourism and Recreation, for her help with public relations for the museum. The Warsaw Library is also a supporter of the museum and has one of its displays in its front window.
BCHS will host a Benefit Dinner on April 7, beginning at 6 PM, at St. Ann’s Catholic Church. It is the major fundraiser of the year, and tickets are available from the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce, BCHS Board Members, or Carter Kinkead at 660-221-7319, for $30 each. The evening will begin with a social gathering, and dinner takes place at 6:30 PM. The rest of the evening will include music from the Morton Sisters, a silent auction, pie auction and a lot of door prizes donated from local businesses.
The museum will be open on Fridays and Sundays from 1 PM to 4 PM, and on Saturdays from 10 AM to 4 PM.  Special groups are welcome to visit the museum during weekdays by appointment with a BCHS board member, or by calling the museum at 660-438-2304. Admittance is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and children 4 – 12 years, and free for members.