The Newton County Historical Society was the recipient last week of a wonderful gift.

Given to us by the History Museum on the Square in Springfield were no less than 15 display cases for  historical exhibits! The History Museum on the Square (that’s their official name) is getting new cases so they let us have these at no cost. All we had to do was pick them up and I want to personally thank Tim Booyer and Dale Jobe for doing that Friday. Also, we want to thank Ron Scroggins and family of Whitman Trailers for loaning us the trailer, and the Newton County Commission for their help and support in letting us have a place to bring the cases to. Thank you all, and our gratitude is especially extended to the History Museum on the Square for thinking of us. You have done your friends to the southwest a good service.

These cases, which are very nice I am told, will be put to good use. With an eye toward the future, my own vision, shared by others, has always been to have a separate, modern facility for historical exhibits and convert the present museum building at 121 N. Washington back into a sheriff’s home and jail, which was its original purpose. The main brick jail was actually attached to the back side of the house, and torn down in the latter 1950s, but the sheriff’s home included the women’s cells and the back entrance and room where the prisoners would first be brought in after arrest. The women’s cells are now the tool room in the museum, and the back room is now used for storage. I want to see those rooms one day look like they used to when they were being utilized for prisoner incarceration. Of course, to do that we must have a modern building for the historical displays. The museum has been in need of an overhaul for a long time, but we simply don’t have the space to do it like we need to, which would include taking some exhibits out of circulation and rotating them back in as new displays are cycled in and out.

But now we have these cases, which is a seed toward growing something bigger.

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I want to remind you all of the upcoming program on Walt Disney by Disney historian and scholar Dan Viets of the Missouri Humanities Council at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 26 at the Elsie E. Plaster Center Auditorium at Crowder College. The presentation is sponsored by the Newton County Historical Society.

The program will review the Missouri influences in Walt Disney’s life and work. Disney was born in Chicago but his family moved to Marceline, Mo., when he was four years old. Four years later the family moved to Kansas City, where Disney later learned the craft of animation and opened his first professional film studio.

Please mark your calendars.

Wes Franklin writes a weekly column for the Daily news.