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March 27, 2013

Area history preserved by SCHM members

DUNCAN — Did you know that Duncan and Marlow once hosted peanut festivals? Or that Duncan’s first hospital building is still standing at 15th Street and Elm?

These facts and more can be found at the Stephens County Historical Museum, which had its annual Membership Kickoff Dinner on Tuesday evening. This event is usually attended by 100-150 people who care about keeping the history of the county available for the community.

This year marked 19 years since the museum began the membership drive.

“This is a time to remind our members to renew their membership,” said Vicki Zimmerman, president of the Stephens County Historical Society board. “It’s a good social event.”

For years, Betty Davis has made her renowned stew for the meal and people show up for a hearty bowl of it and to show their support of the museum. In order to keep the nonprofit organization running including providing free entrance, the museum depends on membership fees and donations.

The dinner is one of the most important night for the museum, as this is the time where current members pay their dues and when they have the biggest opportunity to acquire new members.

“I want to thank you all for your support of our museum,” said Pee Wee Carey, museum director. “We really appreciate you.”

In previous years, there has always been some form of entertainment after the dinner such as a speaker or musician.  However, this year’s presentation was more of a visual one. Photographs of the Ages is a Powerpoint presentation created by John Jennings, a current member and past president of the Stephens County Historical Society.

The presentation featured photos that have been submitted to the museum over the years and was played throughout dinner. Jennings said he scanned about 120 photos for the slide show.

“I’m passionate about history and the museum deserves it,” he said. “I like digging around and collecting the dots.”

One of the first photos in the slide show is that of Ray Mason and Ted Gilbert hanging a sign on the first day of the SCHM’s opening on Sept. 4, 1977. The banner reads, “Let’s Preserve Our Heritage,” which is exactly what the museum and its members continue to strive for.

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