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New director aims to build awareness

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Beth Carr shows off the museum's operating room display, a relic from when the building was a hospital early in the 20th century. The building also housed Wauseon's first high school.

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WAUSEON - Surrounded by antiques and artifacts dating back more than a dozen decades, the new director of the Fulton County Historical Society Museum is working on fresh plans for the place.

Beth Carr of Wauseon, who was hired about a month ago as the new director, last week was cleaning and rearranging items in the museum, 229 Monroe St., in anticipation of an open house slated from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

In addition to museum tours, the event will feature Civil War re-enactors from the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry Co. E of Fulton County.

There is no fee to attend the activities, which are designed to help draw the public's attention to the historical society's museum.

The new director would like to see more people involved in it, and she wants to organize a volunteer group, Friends of the Fulton County Historical Society Museum. "We have a wonderful collection, but a lot of people are not aware of the collection," she said.

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The Fulton County Historical Society museum, at 229 Monroe St. in Wauseon, will hold an open house from 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

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She also would like to establish a junior historian program to get county residents interested in local history at a younger age.

During recent tours of the museum, Mrs. Carr spoke to about 100 school children about the importance of oral history and local history. She pointed out the photograph of Frank Reighard and asked children why his name sounds familiar - some know the name because they play at Reighard Park. Mr. Reighard, a local historian, donated the land for the park.

Mrs. Carr talked to the youngsters about recent changes in Wauseon and what happened to cause those changes, referring to a devastating fire in the city's downtown business district in April.

"These kids know the information about what happened, but a generation from now won't know," she said, explaining why it is important to preserve details about local history.

The new director shared with the school children the history of the museum located in a building that served as Wauseon's first high school.

The building later was a duplex and then a hospital. Today, there are sixteen rooms in the museum housing a permanent collection and changing exhibits.

Next school year, Mrs. Carr would like to reach out to more school children across the county and she is interested in coordinating tours with the 1896 Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad Depot in Wauseon.

The depot was restored by the Fulton County Historical Society in 1975. Today, it houses artifacts that are relevant to the history of the railroad.

The historical society has other buildings as well, including a log cabin and blacksmith shop now located at the Fulton County fairgrounds.

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