Museum staff members are creating new exhibits for the new building and need items for those exhibits.

The McPherson Museum needs your help.

The museum is in the process of building a new facility at 1111 E. Kansas Ave.

Museum staff members are creating new exhibits for the new building and need items for those exhibits.

The McPherson Museum was a part of McPherson College in its early years and focused primarily on science. The museum became a more general-interest museum in 1968 after a Moundridge family donated a variety of antiques to the museum.

Although many of the favorites like the meteorites and La Brea Tar Pit fossils will be parts of the new museum, Brett Whitenack, museum curator, said the museum wishes to focus on telling the story of McPherson County history in its new building.

In order to do that, it needs the help of local residents.

One of the primary areas the museum is seeking resources for is an exhibit called Service and Sacrifice that will highlight the service of McPherson residents during times of war.

Whitenack hopes to use a second exhibit to honor those who served in roles as conscientious objectors.

For these exhibits, the museum needs people willing to be interviewed about their service and provide photographs of their time serving their country.

Residents need not part with their family photographs forever. Whitenack said he is willing to digitally scan photographs and return the originals to the families.

Whitenack is additionally looking for photographs, artifacts or ephemera (paper products or items that otherwise might have been discarded) for other exhibits on McPherson's early history.

These include:

• The Globe Refiners: He is especially interested in old photographs of the Refiners playing in the Community Building or programs.

• Photographs of early McPherson businesses, Main Street, special events, prominent residents or famous visitors.

• Stories or photos of the work of the WPA in McPherson County.

• Photographs, stories or artifacts concerning the early oil or plastics industries in McPherson County.

• Photos of Carl Smalley, a McPherson art dealer who helped start the USD 418 art collection, or photos of the Smalley Feed and Grain where he sold his paintings. Whitenack also would love a copy of one of Smalley's art catalogs.

The USD 418 art collection will be housed at the new museum.

• Information or ephemera on McPherson trying to become the Kansas state capital.

• Any early pictures depicting the daily lives of McPherson residents.

Whitenack said so often people have items and photographs tucked away in trunks, and they don't realize the historical value those items can have.

"I think we can find great and interesting things," he said. "We need to get the community involved. We want people who visit our town and even people who are from our city to learn something about McPherson when they come in."

Contact Cristina Janney at or follow her on Twitter @macsentinel.