Ford County Historical Society 2009 Annual Meeting
Board and Officer Election
The Ford County Historical Society held their annual meeting and election January 29, 2009, at the Kansas Heritage Center, Dodge City. The 2009 FCHS officers and board are: President, George Laughead Jr.; vice president, Carol Jenkner; vice president, museum, Janice Klein; secretary, Ann Warner; treasurer, Sonya Hughes. Additional board members are Noel Ary, Bill Bunyan, Michael Burkhart, Kenneth Felts, Kim Goodnight, Jim Johnson, Terry Lee, Charles Meade, Dr. E.A. Liebl, Troy Robinson, Louis Sanchez, Jim Sherer, Nancy Jo Trauer, Dennis Veatch, Jack Warner, Don Wiles and Fredric Young.
FCHS Budget Committee Appointed
A budget committee was appointed of Sonya Hughes, Janice Klein, Charles Meade, Dr. E.A. Gus Liebl, Troy Robinson, and Don Wiles to review and present the past year's costs for the operation of the Muller-Schmidt House Museum (Ford County's Home of Stone) and prepare the budget request for the Ford County Commission for the 2010 budget year. The budget for the museum has not been increased in over three years, leaving a deficit at the end of 2008. The operation of the museum, including all annual utilities, insurance, security, and summer full-time staff, costs $17,000. Management of the museum, owned by Ford County, is provided at no charge by the Ford County Historical Society. The budget committee will present a request to the Ford County Commission that allows the museum to continue operating full-time during the months of June, July and August. Tours during the remaining months are provided by FCHS volunteers.
AASLH Historic House Committee
The largest history group in the United States, the American Association for State and Local History, has just published their Technical Leaflet on Historic House Museum Sustainability -- wirtten by a committee that included Dodge City native, Ben Hruska, now working on his doctorate in history at Arizona State University, and George Laughead Jr. The 12-page guide will be the basis of the Ford County Historical Society's focus this year on the Mueller-Schmidt House Museum, and ways to improve its operation.
Mueller-Schmidt House Museum Preservation
Thanks to the Why Not Dodge money granted the FCHS, the porch and foundation repair necessary for the Mueller-Schmidt House Museum is funded and will go forward this year. The FCHS will work with Ford County to procede on the repairs, including the replacement of the front porch concrete floor, that is pushing down the foundation of the building, with a return to the original-style wood structure.
Federal Funding for Museums Committee
A national committee, established by the American Association for State and Local History, and the American Association of Museums, is working towards increased funding for museums through the IMLS, the federal museum and library funding agency. The two representatives for Kansas are Julie Mulvihill, Kansas Humanities Council executive director, and George Laughead Jr., Kansas Museums Association board. The goal of the work is to make sure that each state has funding for their museums on a formula basis, making a fairer distribution nation-wide of money available. For smaller states, such as Kansas, this should result in more funds than the current system provides.
David Wetmore and the Sunflower Bank continue to provide no-cost storage for key artifacts. Until a secured artifact room is available, bank storage will be necessary.
The FCHS website continues to grow in both pages and hits. There are over 250 articles, 200 photographs and now three key books, including Dodge City, the Cowboy Capital, by Robert M. Wright, and Early Ford County by Ida Ellen Rath. Located on the Kansas State Library sytems at www.skyways.org/orgs/fordco/; any search for Dodge City history will bring it up on first page results. Thanks to the Kansas State Library for their free web space at www.skyways.org, one of the first web networks in the world. The Ford County Historical Society continues to benefit from being a member of the Kansas Heritage, managed by George Laughead Jr., under Lynn Nelson. Lynn authored the first public Web sites (Kansas History Gateway; established as HNSource 6 March 1993), and started the WWW-Virtual Library with Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web. George is manager of the WWW-VL: United States History index. The Kansas Heritage group where the site started receives over three million users a year.
Kansas Heritage Center
The great staff of the Kansas Heritage Center provided another year of outstanding service, both in producing our newsletter and in generous help on research. Thanks to Dave Webb, Janice Scott, and director Barbara Vincent.
(©2009 Ford County Historical Society, Inc.)