Clay County Museum

The old Clay County Hospital with its three stories isn’t enough space for the Clay County Museum, which has prompted the Museum to seek another home.     (Ryan D. Wilson/Dispatch)

On Monday county commissioners gave the Clay County Museum half of what its curator asked for to "help clean up" the museum.

Commissioners gave up to $5,000 out of the general fund at Monday's meeting for supplies for the project. Museum Curator Cathy Haney the museum would like five times that much, although her formal request was for $10,000 labor, supplies and computer equipment.

Haney and Jeff Gaiser, said the museum needs to upgrade equipment at the museum to help staff better organize and keep track of what it has. Staff are currently being conducting an inventory and re-cataloging all items at the museum.

Each item is given an identification number, catalogued, given a detailed description and the location of storage of each item is annotated on a computer on the computer. Gaiser said if possible, items like the newspapers will be scanned and the scan will be attached to the I.D. number.

"If we have a good enough scan of it, the researchers don't have to touch the object, which is a bonus," Gaiser said.

Haney said some of the items have been "worn out quite a bit," especially the older newspapers. "We've just about worn them out," she said.

The museum also will purchase special supplies to help preserve items that have been donated to the museum, including acid-free plastic bags. The museum is purchasing bags at cost through one the museum employees, but Commissioner Jerry Mayo suggested the museum consider an online resource.

According to Haney's proposal, $116,875 in grant funding being applied for through the Institute Museum Library Service, a highly competitive national grant program. That application includes $96,750 in labor costs, and the rest for celo bags, boxes, tissue paper and labels.

Local matches make the IMLS application more attractive to the organization, Haney said. The museum asked for $3,000 for labor, which the commissioners did not fund, and $2,600 for computer equipment that commissioners also did not fund. The computer equipment included $250 for a laptop, $150 for a digital camera, $200 for a labeler and tag gun, and $2,000 to upgrade storage and backups.

What commissioners did fund included $2,500 for celo bags, $70 for tissue paper, $1,200 for labels and $630 for clothing boxes.

In addition, the museum has received gifts of $5,300 and a commitment from the Historical Society to spend $3,000. The museum has already spent $5,000 on a copier/scanner/printer, and other funds on contract labor, celo bags, computer hardware including a laptop, memory cards, and a one-terabyte external hard drive.

Commissioners suggested the museum consider local grant opportunities, including local ones like the Clay Center Improvement Foundation.

Haney said the museum is pursuing a $3,500 grant from the Kansas Humanities Council., which the museum will know if they received in late October. Finding grants is difficult and takes a lot of time to put together information for application, she said.

Commission Chairman Mike Spicer said the county's budget is "pretty tight" and pretty much committed.

"We have a target we have to hit (with this year's carryover)," Mayo said.

"For next year's budget a significant carry over has to be there or we're going to be in big trouble," Spicer said.

The commissioners suggested the Museum return in December when they will have a better idea of what the carry-over will be and not be as worried about unexpected expenses.

Haney also said the museum welcomes donations toward the project.

In other county news:

-- Permission granted to Landfill and Noxious Weed Director Gailen Tyrell to purchase signs for the doors of all vehicles in weed and landfill departments. The signs from Leaving Signs Behind are $50 for a set of two per vehicle.

-- Virgil Lloyd Jr. and Harlan Riechers met with commissioners to discuss the growth of weeds and grass on the roadsides of 15th Street and the blowing of rock dust on this road. Commissioners visited with Highway Administrator Steve Liby about putting gravel there.

-- Three letters of interest were opened for a bridge inspection of a bridge is on 15th Road between Ottawa and Quail. Commissioners ranked the consultants in the following order: Schwab-Eaton, PA; Cook, Flatt & Strobel Engineers, PA; and BG Consultant's, Inc.