New artists, remodeled rooms and other improvements will be on display when the Highland House Museum in Hillsboro reopens for the season this weekend.
The museum, operated by the Highland County Historical Society and located at 151 W. Main St., will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. until Dec. 23, when it closes for the season. Admission is free.
Vicki Knauff, in her third year as the museum director, said the WCTU “Mother Thompson” Room is in the process of being redone. That room will not be open until June 3, but when it is it will include displays and information on the Underground Railroad in Highland County, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), and Lincoln School, a former school for African American children in Hillsboro.
Since the museum closed for normal hours last December, Knauff said local Boy Scout William Albert has been working on an Eagle Scout Project that involves improvements to the 1830s era log cabin and area around it behind the museum. She said his project is still in the works, but that Albert has repaired spots in the cabin walls, repaired some of its front steps, constructed a rock sidewalk from the front of the cabin to a nearby sidewalk, and installed a hitching post.
Knauff said Jean Wallis and Carolyn Hastings have undertaken a project to reorganize books in the museum’s library. She said some of the books that were on display were not relevant to Highland County and the idea is for the library displays to reflect more on the county. She said the library has been painted, along with the bathroom and some halls, and that the museum gift shop has works from three new local artists for sale.
“Besides preserving buildings, which most people perceive as what we do, I see us more as an extension of preserving family history, documents, wedding certificates, photos, recordings and things like that,” Knauff said. “Stories passed down through family history say I was descended from Cherokee Indians, but I can find no evidence of that. Things get twisted around and told and retold, and if it was written down or recorded and preserved somewhere, it would be hopefully more accurate.”
But before the museum’s reopening on Saturday, it will host the local Arts & Palette Guild’s 60th anniversary reception from 5-9 p.m. on Friday. The event is free and open to the public.
Then on May 13 the historical society will hold an afternoon with Madeline Crouse, who has written a book of poetry titled “The Edge of the Sky,” at 2 p.m. at the museum. Knauff said Crouse will be doing a reading and selling and signing copies of her book.
On Sunday, May 28 the museum will be the site of a 2 p.m. hall of fame induction ceremony and on Monday, May 29 the museum will be open after the Memorial Day observance at the Highland County Courthouse in Hillsboro.
Many more events are scheduled throughout the remainder of the year.
Knauff said Highland County is full of history and that many local residents may not be aware that it has more than 25 sites that have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. They include:
• Barrett’s Mill, located on Rocky Fork Creek near Rainsboro;
• Bell Mansion, 225 Oak St., Hillsboro;
• Bell’s First Home, 222 Beech St., Hillsboro;
• Bell’s Opera House, 100 block of South High Street, Hillsboro;
• C.S. Bell Foundry and Showroom, 154-158 W. Main St., Hillsboro;
• East Main Street Historic District, which includes East Main and East Walnut streets in Hillsboro;
• Eubanks-Tytus House, southeast of Hillsboro on SR 41;
• Fort Hill State Park, southeast of Hillsboro on SR 41;
• Highland County Courthouse in the center of Hillsboro;
• Highland Egg and Poultry Company Building (aka Hercules Trouser Company), now occupied by an apartment complex on North West Street in Hillsboro;
• Hillsboro Historic Business District, roughly bounded by Beech, Walnut, East and West streets;
• Hirons-Brown House, southwest of Buford on Guernsey Road;
• Robert D. Lilley House (Dr. James Bodenhamer residence), at the eastern edge of Hillsboro on SR 124;
• Samuel Lyle Log House, 7190 Pondlick Road;
• Lynchburg Covered Bridge;
• Morrow-Overman-Fairley House, 404 N. High St., Hillsboro;
• Mother Thompson House, 133 Willow St., Hillsboro;
• New Market Township Community House, 4641 U.S. Route 62;
• Plum Round Mound near Rainsboro;
• Rocky Fork Park Group near Marshall;
• Rocky Fork Park Site near Rainsboro;
• St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 232 N. High St., Hillsboro;
• William Scott House, 338 W. Main St., Hillsboro;
• Samuel Smith House and Tannery, 103 Jefferson St., Greenfield;
• Traveller’s Rest Inn, Jefferson Street and McArthur Way, Greenfield;
• Trop Farm, 6250 Mad River Road;
• Workman Works in Salem Township.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.