Updates underway at Valmeyer museum

An exhibit currently on display at Valmeyer Public Library showcases some of Valmeyer’s school history. These items will be displayed in the Valmeyer Community Heritage Society Museum this spring. 

The Monroe City School building in Valmeyer and the museum it houses are slated for updates in the near future. 

The Valmeyer Community Heritage Society has already scheduled work to complete renovations to the school house exterior. The work began this past summer and will resume in mid-March.

Heritage society vice president Dennis Knobloch  explained that three remaining walls and the bell cupola of the building will be weatherized and painted. The windows will also be resealed and a sign will be added to the front of the building that will briefly explain the history of Valmeyer and the schoolhouse.

“Hopefully by midsummer it will look brand-spanking new,” Knobloch said.

In addition to work on the outside of the building, the museum on the inside will be getting a makeover. Several new exhibits will be added and a series of presentations are planned. 

One exhibit coincides with the 100th anniversary of the inaugural class of Valmeyer High School. The display will highlight the milestone as well as other interesting pieces of school history. 

While the museum display is currently in the works, a sample of artifacts is currently on display at Valmeyer Public Library, including photos, a “Baby Pirate” yearbook and architectural lettering attached to the original high school building.

The Baby Pirate is the product of World War II rationing restrictions. It is smaller than a traditional yearbook and made with paper printed on a mimeograph machine.

The letters from the old VHS were recovered during demolition of the building after it was flooded in 1993.

“The demolition contractor helped with getting the letters back,” Knobloch said, explaining that he and others had to wait until the building was being torn down to retrieve the “Community High School” signage. “(The contractor) was very careful with that part of the school and we had to chip away (from the brick) to get the letters when that part came down. About half of them broke” during extraction, he added.

Another planned exhibit will highlight the contributions to Valmeyer of civic groups such as the Lion’s Club. It will also feature the Valmeyer Area Jaycees, who recently celebrated their 50th anniversary, and the American Legion, an organization that was founded over a century ago in 1919.

Knobloch was happy to have the groups recognized, as they have “had a long history of contributions” to the community.

Knobloch also described a series of educational and historical presentations to be held at the museum beginning this summer. 

While details are still being worked out, Knobloch said he plans for there to be at least one program per month on Sunday afternoons.

In the January newsletter, the society thanked donors who have allowed them to “continue to make improvements to the facility.”

The Monroe City schoolhouse was moved to its current location in 2011 from its original location near KK Road. It operated as a schoolhouse from the early 1900s until the mid-1950s.

Since the relocation, the building has become a museum and housed several exhibits, including the “Water/Ways” display by the Smithsonian Institute in 2016. 

The museum is closed currently but will reopen to the public beginning April 1. To schedule a tour when the museum is closed, call Knobloch at 939-2142.

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Scott Woodsmall

HTC web