NORFOLK, Neb. (KCAU) – After having to close its doors on multiple occasions, a Norfolk museum is back in business.
The Elkhorn Valley Historical Society was founded in 1957. It took about 40 years moving from store front to storefront to find a place to call home. It’s a staple in Norfolk that expresses the culture and history of more than 20 surrounding counties.
Organizers said there’s no better feeling than finally being able to re-open the doors and rebuild a sense of community that the museum brings.
“One of the first memories I have of the museum was when they had a firefighters exhibit. We came in when I was younger and I loved it here,” museum goer, Austin Truex, said.
Truex it was difficult to experience the first closure after floods gutted the museum in 2019.
“Came into work that day and found six inches of standing water in our community room. We ended up replacing the flooring as well, because it had been totally ruined,” Ashley Brown, the executive director of the museum, said.
Brown said there was a lot of work and money involved in repairing the flood damage and it didn’t get easier the following year, having to close for three months during the pandemic.
“Just seeing people come back in and being able to give them tours and to talk about our collection and all of our programs that were now able to have in person. It really just brings a strong sense of community that sorts of lacking in a virtual world. Really for more that’s the best part,” Brown said.
It’s the best part for admirers of the museum like Truex, who hopes his childhood memories of the museum continue for generations to come.
“So many people have put a lot of work in here I think that this museum is really a legacy and it shows what the people of this community and the surrounding areas want to do and show how important preserving our history and our stories, and our heritage is to everyone in the area,” Truex said.
The museum is filled with more than 26,000 artifacts and documents, made up of local and modern history with agriculture and transportation from the 1850s to today.
Organizers said it took months of discussion, and a game plan, on how to move forward after having to close its doors. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday with programs offered on the weekends.