The Pope County Museum is holding an on-line auction through Zielsdorf Auction to find new homes for surplus items.

The Board of Directors and staff have been carefully refining the collection to remove duplicate items, items not related to Pope County History, and items the museum cannot care for appropriately.

“For many years, anything offered to the museum was accepted. For example, we had over 25 single trees/eveners for horse-drawn equipment, 3 large planters, two threshing machines, over a half dozen adding machines, and 8 cast iron stoves. We have found homes for some of these items in other museums, but we simply can’t make good use of so many duplicate items, especially the very large ones that are difficult to store,” said collection manager, Ann Grandy. “We are much more careful about what we take into the collection these days. We no longer accept duplicate items, or things that we can’t reasonably care for.”

Accepting a single item into the collection costs the museum an average of $10 in staff time for photographing, researching and documenting the item and the donation. Specialized, long term storage and safe exhibit mounts add to the cost of the perpetual care of each item.

The decision to remove an item from the collection is not an easy one. Museum staff thoroughly researches each item before making a recommendation. A Collection Committee made up of Historical Society members reviews the list and makes any necessary adjustments before submitting their recommendations to the Board of Directors, who has the final vote on whether or not to remove an item. Then, following museum policy and professional museum protocol, the original donor is contacted if possible, and the items are offered to other museums. Remaining items can be sold through a public auction.

At this time, a large number of items that have been removed from collection will be auctioned off by Zielsdorf Auction. It will be an on-line auction on their website and will run from January 15-25.

All of the items on this auction have either been donated to the museum specifically for inclusion in this auction or been formally removed from the collection due to duplication, poor condition, or lack of a clear connection to Pope County history.

Most of the items are farm-related, as museum staff are making space for a new exhibit in the Agriculture Building. “The new shed, completed in 2018, is a fantastic space for the farm stories that are the foundation of contemporary Pope County history,” said Merlin Peterson, museum director.

There are large items such as a grain binder, a water wagon, a buckboard wagon, and a threshing machine. There are small items such as wrenches, anvils, and single-trees. There are unusual items such as wheels from an animal powered treadmill and a foil printer for personalizing Bible covers, stationary, and napkins.

The proceeds of this sale will be used for the long-term care and preservation of items remaining in the collection.