Seymour Museum Center invites public to cleanup days

The Seymour Museum Center is close to opening to the public.

The next two weekends, the nonprofit organization will move even closer.

Museum board President Lenny Hauersperger has organized cleanup days from 8 a.m. to noon the next two Saturdays at the museum, 220 N. Chestnut St., Seymour.

Board members will be working in the building, and Hauersperger said anyone from the public is invited to help.

"It will just be mainly cleanup, which could include dusting, sweeping, cleaning out display counters. We’ve covered it the best we could, but dust can still find a way to get in and on top of stuff," he said.

"Then maybe moving some things around. We’ll have people organizing display counters, possibly moving some artifacts around," he said. "It will be enough to keep us busy, but it’s the kind of stuff that has to be done between contractors coming in."

Anyone interested in helping should wear clothes they normally wear while cleaning.

"Once that gets done, it’s definitely going to help us get closer to opening," Hauersperger said. "It’s coming along."

Five inmate workers from the Jackson County Jail spent several hours June 24 volunteering their time at the museum.

Hauersperger said the tasks they completed , including tearing out old heaters and removing the drop ceiling upstairs, actually are part of the museum’s second phase of renovations.

"We’re just trying to finish Phase 1, but when we’ve got help like that, we’ve got other things we can do," Hauersperger said. "They did a fine job. I hauled off a load of metal they tore out. I got $150 out of it, so every dollar helps. I’d like to get them back again to pull carpet from upstairs."

A contractor currently is completing the handicap-accessible restroom at the museum, and Hauersperger said heating and air conditioning will be the next job.

He was hopeful to have the museum open by June 26 for the Cars and Guitars car show and concert that drew people to downtown Seymour, but that didn’t happen.

"Our contractors had some delays, so we couldn’t be open for Cars and Guitars, and that broke my heart," he said. "I wanted so bad to be open. I knew there would be a crowd with people wanting to get out now, but the contractors just had so much going on and things delayed, it was just too much of a liability and inconvenience to have it open for Cars and Guitars."

He’s now aiming to have the museum open by Scoop the Loop, which is Aug. 21 in the downtown.

"We’re hoping we can be open then," Hauersperger said. "Oktoberfest, we’ll definitely be open, but if the contractors and this cleaning and everything gets far enough along, I believe we could be open for Scoop the Loop. I’m very hopeful."

The museum’s capital campaign also has started strong.

Since kicking off in June, Hauersperger said nearly $5,300 has been raised, and one of the windows has been sponsored.

Donations are being accepted in hopes of raising more than $90,000 to complete Phase 1 of the restoration project of the historic building on the corner of Third and Chestnut streets.

Capital campaign sponsorship levels are bronze, $500 to $999.99; silver, $1,000 to $4,999.99; gold, $5,000 to $9,999.99; and platinum, $10,000 and up.

Window sponsorship is $1,600. Each donation is recognized with a dedication plaque to identify the donors.

A gift of $25,000 would finish the hardwood floors, $10,000 would complete the front foyer and entry room or the train room and $5,000 would complete the bathroom.

Also, a gift of $100,000 would name the large gallery room, and a gift of $50,000 would name half of the gallery room.

Families, individuals or businesses interested in making a donation to name or sponsor an area are encouraged to contact Hauersperger at 812-530-9272.

Checks should be made payable to Seymour Museum and mailed to Seymour Museum, P.O. Box 1138, Seymour, IN 47274 or contributions may be made at JCB for the Seymour Museum Center.

The museum is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, so all donations are tax-deductible.

The $90,000 needed along with the already committed funds of $47,100 will complete the first phase.

"Volunteers and financial support from the visitor center and redevelopment commission have enabled us to reach this point," Hauersperger said. "Our hope is that we can see real improvement by the end of summer."

He said he is making his way around to visit with potential sponsors and hopes to secure at least $10,000 to have the heating and air installed.

"I’m still hopeful we’ve got some more money out there," he said. "I want to get out there in person, personally visit some businesses that have helped in the past. I’m sure they’ll come through. They haven’t yet, but I’m sure they will."

The museum board has been working to restore the building to showcase historic Seymour articles, including an Ahlbrand carriage made in Seymour, the mail wagon used to deliver rural mail in the early 1900s, a Welch telephone collection and a train room dedicated to the Southern Indiana Model Railroad Association that displays a working model train layout and other train memorabilia.

The board’s long-term vision is to create displays of industrial and business history, family histories, personal collectibles of significance to the area, pictures, sports hall of fame recognition and other artifacts of historic importance to Seymour.

Anyone having items for consideration should contact Rodney Farrow at 812-525-1209.

Joining Hauersperger and Farrow on the board are Bob Kamman, Mindy Clay, Bob Bicknell, Jerry Hackney, Carol King and Kevin Greene.

Once the first phase is complete, the hope is the building will be ready to open for school tours, special downtown events and tours by appointment.

Phase 2 will complete the second-floor exhibit room; Phase 3 will include exterior work, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant needs and drainage; Phase 4 will focus on the east side office, meeting, library and storage areas; and Phase 5 will include the basement gallery space.

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What: Cleanup days at the Seymour Museum Center

When: 8 a.m. to noon the next two Saturdays (July 10 and 17)

Where: Seymour Museum Center, 220 N. Chestnut St., Seymour

Who: Museum board members invite the public to help

Information: Call Lenny Hauersperger at 812-530-9272 or visit

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To contribute to the Seymour Museum Center capital campaign, make a check payable to Seymour Museum and mail it to Seymour Museum, P.O. Box 1138, Seymour, IN 47274 or visit any branch of JCB.

The museum is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, so all donations are tax-deductible.

For information, to schedule a tour or donate historic Seymour artifacts, call Lenny Hauersperger at 812-530-9272. Artifact donations also may be made by calling Rodney Farrow at 812-525-1209.