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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • McPherson Museum building complete; exhibits in progress

  • The construction on the McPherson Museum building is complete.
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  • The construction on the McPherson Museum building is complete.
    The contractor for the project is making minor adjustments this week.
    Museum staff and exhibit workers are now busy moving in furniture, creating exhibits and painting murals.
    The Hospitality Center, which will serve as the entrance to the museum, is almost complete. This area includes a small theater, a museum store, a refreshment room, a catering kitchen and a Gathering Hall that can accommodate up to 100 people.
    The Gathering Hall opens onto an east-facing terrace.
    The catering kitchen has a door to the Gathering Hall and could be used by an outside caterer, for potluck dinners or for food demonstrations.
    The Hospitality Center can be secured from the main part of the museum, so events can be conducted after hours.
    The Gathering Hall, the Feature Exhibit Hall and the Family Adventure Center all will be available to the public to rent. The Feature and Family Adventure Centers only will be available when exhibits are not present. Reservations are being taken now for the rental of these spaces.
    "We are happy to be a part of the community," Barber said. "We want to be a part of the community."
    A Hospitality Center opening is set for 2 p.m. Sept. 1. The grand opening, including exhibits, is set for Nov. 30.
    The museum's store committee is working on a slate of artists who will be featured in an exhibit case in the Hospitality Center. The featured artist for the month will be allowed to consign art with the museum store, and may or may not have art displayed in the museum's Feature Exhibit Hall.
    Main Exhibit Hall
    Exhibits are slowly going up in the museum's Main Exhibit Hall. The frame of the library, which will be one of the central exhibits in the museum's Main Exhibit Hall, has been constructed. The library will feature Central Christian College and McPherson College. It will include a mural by Naomi Ullum on the history of Central Christian. The library also will include a seating area and picture books on points of interest and other historical facets of the community that will not be featured in the other permanent exhibits at the museum.
    "You get so far into an exhibit, and depending on your health, you want to sit down," Carla Barber, McPherson Museum executive director, said. "(The library) will have some comfortable seating in it."
    Fossils
    Ullum also will paint a mural for the La Brea tar pit exhibit at the museum.
    Dr. J. Z. Gilbert, the first graduate of McPherson College, unearthed the prehistoric fossils from the La Brea tar pits in the early 1900s in Los Angeles.
    Saber tooth tiger, giant sloth and dire wolf fossils became a part of the museum's collection through McPherson College.
    Page 2 of 2 - Included in this collection is a juvenile saber tooth tiger skull. Both the adult and juvenile teeth can been seen in this specimen, which is quite rare, Barber said.
    Ullum paid tribute to this part of collection by including a baby saber tooth tiger in the mural design, which will be painted on the north wall of the Main Exhibit Hall.
    Barber said the artist tried to make the prehistoric scene nonthreatening to small children. Special attention has been made to create exhibits that are appropriate for both young and older audiences, she said.
    'Roots and Routes'
    On the west wall of the museum, a mural title "Roots and Routes" is in the works. This mural will depict how people settled McPherson. The exhibit will tell the story of how McPherson changed as the various trails, roads and highways came into the city, Barber said.
    Meteorites, diamonds
    A stack of exhibit cases under construction were set against the southeast wall. These cases will house the museum's meteorite collection. The southeast wall will be painted black, and a video of the night sky with the occasional shooting star will be shown on a loop against the black background.
    Next to the meteorites will set scientist J. Willard Hershey's desk. Hershey created the first synthetic diamond. He was head of McPherson College's chemistry department from 1918 to 1945, and became president of the Kansas Academy of Science in 1933.
    Art gallery
    Also in the works are the northwest corner of the Main Exhibit Hall, which will be dedicated to the McPherson industry.
    The Norene Catron Kefcherside Gallery of Fine Art is complete except for the installation of furniture and artwork. The gallery, which was named for art teacher and longtime chairwoman of the USD 418 Art Advisory Committee, will display pieces of the museum's permanent collection.
    This will include pieces of southwest pottery, as well as two-dimensional art. The entrance to the art gallery will be painted with the outline of trees in the style of artist Birger Sandzén.
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