Heritage Museum thanks Daubendiek for service; new progress being made to building

Thursday, September 12, 2019
The new framework for the restroom at the Remsen Heritage Museum was built with the help of Randy Olson of Le Mars.
(Photo contributed)

The Remsen Heritage Museum, located in downtown Remsen, has been making some changes this year and making small progress in new exhibits for the museum.

The idea first started to open a museum when the City of Remsen asked some of the citizens to start a museum board. Bill Daubendiek was one of those citizens that helped get the museum board going.

Karen Harnack, Remsen Hertiage Museum’s Secretary, stated, “A group of us were asked by the City of Remsen to form a museum board back in 2006. On March 7, 2006, we had our first meeting of the board, and at that time, Bill (Daubendiek) became President. Original board members were Bill Daubendiek, Ethel Heidesch, Kurtis Kroeger, Hubie Nothem, Rick Roder, Kevin Rollins, and myself (Karen Harnack). Bill was the president up until May of 2019, when he decided to retire.”

Bill Daubendiek

According to Harnack, Daubendiek has been a very important part of the museum’s growth and progress. Harnack explained, “He was instrumental in setting up an endowment fund and renovation fund. He also was instrumental for the first building we had (for the museum), which was Frank's Place. The first name (of the museum) was just Remsen Museum Board because we were under the City, and then took over in 2011 and renamed it to the Remsen Heritage Museum. He was the one that pushed the musuem to be our own organization. In 2011, we decided to become Remsen Heritage Museum and then we proceeded to take over ownership of this building (their current building located at 231 S. Washington St.) and became a 501c3 tax exempt organization.”

“The board wants to thank Bill for all his hard work and support and wish him well in his retirement.” said Harnack.

The Remsen Heritage Museum board has changed since it’s first inception back in 2006. Current board members are Donna Kendall, President; Brian Nitzschke, Vice President; Karen Harnack, Secretary; Kurtis Kroeger, Treasurer; and Mike Schnepf. According to Harnack, “We are always looking for new members. We have a new member this year, Brian Nitzschke, who came to join us. There is no limit to the number of board members.”

Brian Nitzschke has a lot of ideas, “We are going to do some changing up front because a lot of these exhibits haven't been changed since we opened. It's still a process. I'm working on it. I've worked with a musuem before so I'm kind of used to knowing exhibits. Bringing that knowledge here helps out a lot and Kurtis Kroeger has been with another museum too, and Bill was on another museum board, too. He brought a lot of knowledge of what he learned over there to here.”

With the new board members have come new ideas about what to do in the museum space.

Donna Kendall stated, “We are going forward with our expansion of the back room to make room for displays.”

Nitzschke added, “We have electricity now. We got a bathroom half finished. We had an all volunteer crew for that come in and did the bathroom framing and everything. Two brand new back doors put in. We are working on agricultural, that will be the display in the back, the agricultural area, which will have a barn with barn doors.”

The back of the Remsen Heritage Museum has been opened up for more space to display more exhibits. The doors were installed by Jeremy Vanderplas of Le Mars.
(Photo contributed)

They are also working on getting a dry basement. Nitzschke explained, “We have to deal with the wet basement. We've had a company from Minnesota come and give us a bid on that and we applied for a grant. So we're hoping that the grant will come through and we can get our basement dried out, we hope anyways. We'd like to get it air tight by winter time. That's the goal.”

Harnack added, “The local lumber yard also helped us to seal up some of the problem areas for now to keep the water out.”

There is room in the museum now to house more displays. Nitzschke stated, “We're going to eventually set up a train display in here somewhere, a working train layout so people can see the trains. We are going to do a barn and then a farmhouse kitchen, and we have an old cook stove that will go in the back room. We also plan on a small office for the filing cabinets in the back corner and then open it up so that we can have everything on one wall be Remsen businesses, stores, and restaurants. We're going to try grouping stuff together instead of having some here and there. We also plan on having a gift shop. We are still working on our front windows cause we are having trouble with UV lighting that causes fading, so we need to get that solved. There are several projects going on. Whenever we can get one thing done, we go to another.”

Progress of the back room area and other exhibits and projects the Remsen Heritage Museum is working on are displayed with pictures on their Facebook page, which is Remsen Heritage Museum. Nitzschke stated, “As progress goes, I always post pictures of what all is going on here. That way everybody can see we are making small changes and progress.”

At present, the Remsen Heritage Museum is usually open the third Saturday of the month for a couple of hours or when events are going on in Remsen.

Nitzschke exclaimed, “My dream is to get more people in here, and more funding. The whole idea is to get more people in and draw interest.”