Reproduced here with permission of the North Platte Telegraph.  

September 9, 2003

By Dick Reynolds
The North Platte Telegraph

When the Lincoln County Historical Museum at 2403 N. Buffalo Bill Avenue closes for the year Sept. 29, work will begin the next day on revamping the Canteen display.

The Canteen will be relocated to a larger space within the museum, allowing for a larger exhibit. This will allow the complete story to be told from the outbreak of World War II to the reunions of canteen workers.

"We hope the project will be done in six months," said Chadwick Boehlke, director and curator of the museum. The new Canteen exhibit is expected to cost about $6,000 for materials, with work done by volunteers.

At the present time about $1,500 is collected and earmarked for the renovation. Boehlke said all donations qualify for tax deductions.

At 1 p.m. Thursday, there will be an open house at the museum for presentation of the new layout design.

"We are going to show what we have in mind and some of the flaws we have noticed about this display," Boehlke said.

One of the big flaws according to Boehlke, is lack of information on how the World War II started.

"We are into the third generation after the war and there are not a lot of people who know how it all started," he said. "Not everyone is a historian."

The second flaw to be corrected is more recognition of the volunteers and groups that came to the facility to keep it going.

"We would like to talk about some of the problems the Canteen had, too," Boehlke said. "The Canteen throughout the years has become a pretty picture people have been painting in their heads for 60 years, not realizing that every so often they needed money or it would shut down."

The plan is for the display to start at the left-hand side with information on the first Canteen during World War I and then move into the start of World War II.

There will be information on how the Canteen really got started and how the volunteers and towns all pitched in to help. The food table currently on display with the piano will be featured in the new display as well.

"We would like to have the sound of a train whistle go off every 10 minutes to give people an idea how long that time frame was as the troop trains moved in and out," he said.

There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the new display at the museum's opening day for the 2004 season in mid-May. The speaker will be Mary Ellen Webb, who will appear though the cooperation of the Nebraska Humanities Council.


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