In September 2019 the McCleary Historical Society was asked to leave its home of 35 years. Call it fate, if you will, the United Methodist Church building became available to the Society. A year later we were doing a final fundraising push to raise funds and were able to finish paying for the building. The community has proven to us that they want us to succeed. We know we have their support and appreciate it very much. We not only were able to pay off the building, but have made many of the needed improvements.
The new facility is known as the McCleary Museum and Heritage Center. We opened the new facility on Mothers day weekend 2021. Despite delays due to the pandemic, we were able to put together many displays and had a successful open house. We have many more items to rotate into the display area so expect new things in the future. The moonshine still was among the first to be completed. We have a lot of interest in that piece of history. We also have a Visitor Center that will be open whenever the museum is open. We also have a gift shop and plan to use the sanctuary as an event center to hold weddings, memorial services, family gatherings etc. The possibilities are limitless.
Besides looking for grants we are holding fundraising events almost monthly. With the support of the community we have done some major repairs that were strongly suggested by the City of McCleary’s building inspector. The chimney had to be earthquake proofed. The old building, built in 1926, had knob and tube wiring. No insurance company would insure us until that was updated. The front office windows had wood rot and needed to be completely replaced. The replacement windows are beautiful. They were hand made with energy efficient glass. Volunteers came in right away and repainted the main hall to a neutral color. The sign out front was changed from THE METHODIST CHURCH to THE McCLEARY MUSEUM AND HERITAGE CENTER and paid for by a member. The gutters were repaired by donation and we put in a new toilet too. Many more things have happened and will happen as we improve this wonderful new addition to our community.
Our goal is to preserve the past, and teach it to generation after generation.
We now have a strong volunteer base, but we are always looking for more talent. We also would love to see more visitors. This is your museum. Please come and Enjoy it. (and tell your neighbors, family and friends!)