Marshville museum recounts five-year history

By: By Margaret Pigg - Contributing Columnist

The Marshville Museum and Cultural Center opened on June 17, 2012 with many guests and good wishes from town officials and other dignitaries.

At our first birthday party, it was reported that there had been more than 1,000 visitors and 20 classes sponsored by Union County Community Arts Council through a grant, ranging from genealogy to old-fashioned Christmas ornament making. There were approximately 200 individuals in the classes, of which 123 were children. About 60 volunteers had given more than 24,000 hours of labor, including the six months of preparation for opening.

In 2013, a Care to Share grant from Pee Dee Electric — in conjunction with the town, which owns the building, provided money for a new HVAC system to be installed.

For our fifth birthday, I thought it would be interesting to have a recap of our activities. There have been 18 classes for children and eight classes for adults, not including quilting each first Tuesday morning and knitting on the first Tuesday afternoon. Jack has had approximately 300 participants in his four-session genealogy classes. We have had a variety of art exhibits by 30 local artists and had receptions for them. Each year, the five classes of third-grade students from Marshville Elementary School walk to the museum for a special visit to learn about our history. Numerous other groups have come for tours arranged when the museum is not open. Twice we had special Black History Month presentations by professionals, along with art exhibits by black artists. There have been two programs presented by authors who discussed their books. Some other presentations have been pottery making and spinning. Each fall, there is a tea and fashion show which is enjoyed by the ladies.

We have had several interns from Wingate University to help us, two of whom were working for class credit. Along with a grant from UCCAC, we helped a local student prepare a book of photos of historic Marshville homes for his senior thesis. He donated one of the books to the museum and the photos that he took are available for purchase at the museum, as well as the book from him.

Several of the volunteers have interviewed local folks and made CD recordings of their memories. We have 47 oral histories, 29 “Color Purple” filming memories, and 20 interviews with people to record their memories of the train derailment in Marshville on April 10, 1984. These CDs are available for anyone to listen to at the museum and we can make copies if anyone wishes one.

A special treat each spring is the plant exchange, which was the vision of Wanda Bradley. She wanted us to offer heirloom plants and seeds and call the event “Looking Back at Grandmother’s Garden.” Master gardeners are on hand to answer questions and this has become one of our most popular and fun events.

All of our classes and programs are sponsored by the Union County Community Arts Council and the Grassroots Arts Program. In addition to four arts council grants, we received a second grant from Pee Dee Electric with which we had spotlights installed in the big room and enhanced lighting on the art wall, as well as carpet on the wall to make hanging the art easier and more attractive. In 2016, the town of Marshville approved the hiring of a specialist in renovation to repair the tin ceiling and installation of wood-look laminate floors in the two front rooms, custom-made storm windows and some roof and chimney repairs. The board of directors approved and funded the installation of the same flooring in the remainder of the building. An anonymous donor who was very impressed with the museum gave the security system.

Each fall the board has a fund drive to solicit donations to pay the museum’s utilities and other expenses since the town does not provide those for us. However, the town provides internet service for us and one of our members has created a Facebook page and is constructing a website for us. Our website is mmcc1893.com and the email address is mmcc1893@gmail.com. Jack McIver edits a monthly newsletter which he emails to subscribers at the first of each month. If you would like to be on this list, send a request to him at mciver1@windstream.net.

Concerning fundraising: a local artist, Mary Erickson, has donated an original oil panting valued at $2,100 for us to raffle. Tickets are $5 each or six for $25. The painting will be given away at our fifth birthday celebration, which will be June 17 from 1-3 p.m. To purchase tickets, contact any museum volunteer or come by the museum.

We always need more volunteers, so if you would be interested in joining this busy group, just call Norma More at 704-385-9392 or Phyl Simpson at 704-624-6214. And thanks to all of you for your wonderful support over these last five years.

By Margaret Pigg

Contributing Columnist