The Grove City Welcome Center and Museum, 3378 Park St., is marking its 10th anniversary by sprucing up its building and reorganizing how items are displayed.

"The 10th anniversary seemed like an opportune time to refurbish things," museum curator Don Ivers said.

"Museums have to change," said Steve Jackson, president of the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society, the organization that operates the museum.

"Museums are as important as they ever were because, with the rapid change in society, things are becoming museum pieces a lot faster than ever before," he said. "But there are multiple ways for you to look at and learn about history these days, so a museum has to be a place where things are happening."

A team of volunteers is putting the finishing touches this month on a renovation of the museum's parlor room in the northeast corner of the building, Ivers said.

"We've repainted the room and added some new floor coverings and curtains and there will be three new pieces of furniture in the room," he said.

"It's designed to look inviting, like a parlor from a home in the late 1800s or early 1900s," he said. "We want people to say, 'This reminds me of my great aunt's house.' "

"The parlor kind of serves as a ceremonial place for the museum," Jackson said. "We can use it to greet dignitaries or hold a special event."

Other areas of the museum have been repainted to help set off framed pictures and artwork on display, Ivers said.

Various rooms are being reorganized by theme, Jackson said.

The vault in what was originally a bank building will display items related to Grove City businesses, he said.

The Grove City room will focus on items relating to life in the community, and the conference room will feature items relating to the South-Western City School District and also remain a meeting room, Jackson said.

The main interior will continue to house permanent display items and special exhibits, Ivers said.

A current exhibit is an expanded display of items relating to the history of Beulah Park, including photographs and posters and a turnstile from the clubhouse entrance to the race track, which was in operation from 1923 until 2014, he said.

"The crowds would sometimes swell up to 10,000 or 12,000 people in a town of less than 1,000 in the 1920s," Ivers said. "We have this display here to remember the days when (Beulah Park) was known for thoroughbred racing."

Another display, "This Fabulous Century 1920-2020," includes the book covers from a Time Life series that examined the history of the first seven decades of 20th-century life along with a timeline and artifacts representing the rapid changes that have occurred from 1920 to 2020. The last placard asks visitors to consider what events they see as most important from 1970, when the Time Life series left off.

"1920 was the year that two monumental amendments were added to the Constitution -- the 18th, which put in Prohibition and the 19th for women's suffrage," Ivers said. "We also have items on display relating to the space race, the world wars and an old CRT computer."

The museum's actual 10th anniversary will be in May, Jackson said.

In August, on a date to be determined, the historical society will hold a public reception in which visitors will be invited to attend dressed circa the early 1920s, he said.

"We chose that period because it was a time when there was a real dividing line in fashion," Jackson said. "Ladies were either still dressing like the late 1910s with their skirts down to six inches off the floor or they were dressing in the flapper style. It will be fun to see how people today choose to dress to reflect that era."

The museum is housed in a building constructed in 1957 as the First National Bank of Grove City, he said. The building later became a Huntington Bank branch.

The city purchased the property, and the museum first shared space in the building with the Grove City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Jackson said.

When the convention bureau moved to new offices in 2014, the historical society was able to expand the museum, he said.

"Having the museum really helped spur more people to think about us and donate items for our collection," Jackson said.

While an exact count has not been completed, Jackson said the historical society has "tens of thousands" of items relating not only to Grove City, but also the history of Jackson, Pleasant, Franklin and Prairie townships and Urbancrest.

"The museum building serves as a place to store, prepare and catalogue all of the museum-type items in our collection," he said. "A lot of people don't realize there's an 'upstairs' in this building where we store a lot of items. We're also now storing items that are not temperature or humidity sensitive in the barn at the Grant-Sawyer home, 4126 Haughn Road.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and until 8 p.m. Tuesdays. Admission and parking are free.

Between 1,200 and 1,400 people visit the museum each year, Ivers said.

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