Prairie Trails Museum of Wayne County

With the shoveling of the first scoops of dirt, the new addition and remodel at the Prairie Trails Museum of Wayne County has begun. An architectural design that began following receipt of a generous donation in memory of Mildred Fry, former member of the Board of Directors from 1953 to 1992.

Fry was a board member when the museum was constructed and was also involved in overseeing additions that took place in following years during her time on the board.

Every year the museum sees over 2,000 visitors that arrive to Wayne County from across the State of Iowa as well as other areas in the midwest, United States and even across the world.

Included in the new 1,800 square foot addition design is a community meeting room, two-handicap accessible restrooms the museum does not currently house, office space with the main entrance holding a large welcome center with a gift shop in memory of Fry.

With the larger visitor center within the new addition design, the museum hopes to provide travelers a more updated and modern appearance. With signs of visitor numbers increasing in recent years, the museum hopes to provide a positive experience to visitors not only to the museum but within the community as well.

Since the 1960’s there have been 16 large bells spaced across the front of the museum. With the addition and remodel they will placed once again in front with a new concrete pad underneath.

On Aug. 31 the museum closed for the season with work beginning in preparation for the addition. Plans are hopeful to have the new space completed by spring of 2020. The museum will re-open again in April of 2020.

“We are really happy that this is getting started,” said Prairie Trails Museum Director Brenda DeVore. “The destruction has started and the construction should begin next week. Thank you so much to everyone that has been involved in this process.”

A ground-breaking ceremony was held at the museum on Sept. 12 where DeVore used the same shovel that has been used in every addition to the museum including when the first part of the museum was built in 1964. Other additions happened in 1971, 1976, 2002 and when the Machine Shed was constructed in 2013.

The museum was also awarded a Community and Attraction and Tourism Grant (CAT) from the State of Iowa for $79,000 in 2018. Along with that grant, a $5,281 grant was received from the Wayne Community Foundation.

Anyone wishing to support this project are able to gift the museum to be designated to the building fund or donations can be made as a memorial to someone and sent to the Prairie Trails Museum at P.O. Box 104. All questions can be directed to Brenda DeVore at (641) 872-2211.

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