By Woodrow Polston
The Vandalia Area Historical Society Museum said it would be opening for the 2022 season on Saturday, May 28. For those who would like to take a walk down memory lane for Memorial Day weekend, there are some new and improved exhibits to appreciate around the museum this year. Vickie Wright, president of the Vandalia Area Historical Society Museum, said that there is one new exhibit and several others that have been updated.
“Our brand new addition is a baseball exhibit,” said Wright. “It started with the donation of a baseball uniform from Chris Straube. The uniform was worn by Vic Davis. The uniform is from a team out of Farmer, Mo., which is southeast of Vandalia. We don’t usually display pieces outside of the Van-Far school district, but all of the people who are pictured in this exhibit have ties to Vandalia and a lot of them actually lived here,” she added.
Farmer, Mo., was an unincorporated community in Pike County near Curryville. It was platted in 1885, and took its name from Moses Allen Farmer, an early settler in the area. A post office called Farmer was established in 1883 and remained in operation until 1906. Wright said that the museum has requested photos of teams from the public.
“We put out a request for photos of teams from Vandalia on our Facebook page,” said Wright. “We received a few and have put them on display here. We are still looking for more pictures though. Other items in the exhibit such as the balls and gloves, have been donated by numerous individuals. The antique radio came from a local store, where people would come to listen to the Cardinals games,” she added.
The store was Henegar’s Package Store, located at 308 S. Main Street in Vandalia. It was owned by O.L. Henegar and his wife Leta and was in operation during the 1940s. The radio was situated so that games could be broadcast to the public outside of the store. Henegar wrote a letter to his nephew dated May 12, 1948, that said, “The men are enjoying their cold drinks while sitting in the park listening to the game.”
Other exhibits in the museum that have been updated for the 2022 season, include the addition of a stained-glass window from the original First Baptist Church that was demolished. Wright said that the window was acquired by a historical society member.
“Paul Ray was able to get the stained-glass window for the museum to display. We also have a church pew that came from the original First Baptist Church, as well,” said Wright. Other updated exhibits include a veterans display and a buffalo coat from Farber that is estimated to be approximately 180 years old. The buffalo coat is on loan from the Harold Williams family.
The Vandalia Area Historical Society Museum is located at 112 S. Main Street in Vandalia. The museum will be open May 28 through Oct. 30, 2022, every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. The museum will also be available by appointment. For more information, you may contact them on their Facebook page.