The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Celebrating Henderson County's Museum 40th Anniversary

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Henderson County Museum at Raritan. In the spring of 1976 the Museum was started. With much assistance from many people, the old Raritan Grade School was made into a museum. The building had been used for classrooms until 1973, then storage.

The Historical Society took command in May of "76, and by the 4th of July had filled three and one half of the upstairs classrooms with artifacts.

Rita Southers, the first Curator, helped organize the museum in the displaying and recording of artifacts with knowledge from her college work .

The museum can be proud that several students have worked on the summer programs and have been able to use it on their rsums.

The following year Heritage Trail was founded, although the first year the museum didn't participate, but have been active ever since.

In the 80's they were able to acquire from Orville Robeson, the machine shop/church, blacksmith shop and open front shed. One strong wind took care of the open front shed, along with an early made corn elevator. Interestingly enough, when they acquired the Graham School in 1998, it fit perfectly on the foundation of the shed.

Later in the year, the Phelps House in Oquawka became available and the Historical Society was able to acquire the historical house. In the late 1980's the Society, under the creation of Dr. Robert Sutton, published a book, "Rivers, Railway, and Roads" a history of Henderson County.

The flood of the 80's caused the restoration of Allaman Bridge. The State of Illinois and the Historical Society restored the bridge.

In 1955 a tornado struck Raritan and the Museum suffered considerable damage, but with the help from the insuarance, county highway department, and many volunteers, the museum was again opened.

The Methodist Church was torn down and a new metal machine shed (60x70) was added.

Thanks to the Twomey Foundation and several generous friends the new building was built. The next year Graham School was moved in.

The museum has taken part in many community affairs having artifacts in most parades in the county.

You are invited to celebrate the activities of the Society, admire the artifacts that have been donated and compete for door prizes and enjoy some refreshment on Saturday, September 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, September 25 from 12 noon to 4 p.m.