Since the last Urbana Daily Citizen update in November 2021, the Johnny Appleseed Foundation in collaboration with the JA Society, has continued to make significant progress toward bringing the Johnny Appleseed Educational Center and Museum to life again after the pandemic caused the closing of Urbana University in March of 2020.
The JA Foundation was able to purchase Browne Hall in June of 2021, where the museum had been located since 2018. Plans have been ongoing to once again display the museum’s collection which had been in storage since the shutdown. And once again, it will be able to educate visitors about the life and lessons that make Johnny Appleseed a legend and true folk hero, as well as a significant contributor to local history.
Here’s an update on our progress toward bringing the museum back to life:
-In the coming weeks, repair of the museum’s brick, stone and masonry will be completed. This is the final significant maintenance-action, having completed total roof and gutter replacement last fall. Other interior and exterior upgrades are also planned.
-Currently, the Johnny Appleseed Foundation has hired a private contractor who is now in the process of conducting a complete inventorying and cataloging of the museum’s collection, with the assistance of selected volunteers. Mikaela Prescott brings her experience and understanding of museums to this vital work.
-Concurrent with the inventorying and cataloging, a redesign of the museum is being undertaken. Jeff Taylor, former Urbana University professor and past Johnny Appleseed Society president, is leading the work with the assistance of an excellent board committee. The new design includes a donor recognition space, interactive displays, as well as interesting information about Johnny Appleseed in the 20th century. Once the design have been completed and approved, work will begin on implementing and bringing it to life within the museum space.
-Looking back to December of 2021, approximately 100 friends and supporters of the museum attended an historic home holiday open house, held at the classic Urbana home at 419 Scioto Street built in 1839. Thanks to the generosity of the home’s owners, Kirsten and Mike Reid, visitors enjoyed refreshments and an intriguing tour, in addition to making monetary donations to help reopen the museum.
To realize the successful opening of the new educational center and museum, envisioned for the late autumn of this year, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Matching funds from our same anonymous donor are still available. The donor has pledged to match individual gifts to The Johnny Appleseed Educational Center Museum dollar for dollar, up to $50,000. The campaign is still ongoing. The Johnny Appleseed Foundation is a 501c(3) charitable organization, so gifts are tax-deductible.
Checks may be sent to: The Johnny Appleseed Foundation, P.O. Box 799, Urbana OH 43078.
Info from Betsy Coffman