By Joyce Andrus
The Melba Valley Historical Society is celebrating their first year of existence this month. Along with monthly lectures, they have successfully turned the Rebekah Lodge into the Melba Valley Museum. The official sign was hung on February 25th. To celebrate this proud achievement, the board has organized a Grand Opening on Saturday, March 29th, from 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend this special event.
Artifacts were requested specifically from the 1940s and 1950s (or before), but all items are considered. Several hundred objects have been donated. Volunteers removed 44 original movie house seats and sold all but three, which are now included in the museum’s “theater display” in the foyer. Each area of the museum is dedicated to a specific topic, such as the military and what a room for rent looked like when the lodge was the Gardner Hotel.
A brand new book entitled “We Honor Our Own,” written by Melba High graduate Ann Pettijohn Tomlinson, will be on sale at the event. It includes names and pictures of 399 men who live or once lived in the Melba valley and served our country, covering a century of wars and conflicts.
A large cabinet will showcase a revolving seasonal Melba family display. The first exhibit is in honor of the Todd family. Clayton C. Todd was the founder of Melba and named the town after his baby daughter, the former Melba Todd Hays. Another exciting venture the Museum Board will show case are the works of Melba artists.
In addition to the artifacts to view, there will be history books for reading, a place to research family ancestries and a general gathering forum for folks to meet and visit.
Museum hours will be every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Special arrangements other days and times can be made by contacting a board member. It will be a unique place to have class reunions or family events. Next month’s distinguished speaker on the lecture series is on April 10th and will feature local resident Madge Cook Wylie who share her vast knowledge of Melba’s history. Now you know!