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Vernon County Museum Notes

Vernon County Museum Notes

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The Vernon County Historical Society is planning a number of small outdoor events for the month of August. To begin with, on Saturday, Aug. 1, and again on Saturday, Aug. 29, we will be grilling burgers and brats between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. outside Nelson Agri-Center at 217 N. Center Ave. in Viroqua.

Food handlers will wear masks and gloves, and order-takers will sit behind a plexiglass screen. Funds raised will help support the historical society, whose mission is to preserve and promote our shared local history.

On Saturday, Aug. 22, the Sherry-Butt House will celebrate its 150th birthday with a birthday party. The house will be open for its regular summer Saturday hours of 1 to 5 p.m., with light Victorian-era refreshments served on the lawn (or out of the garage, if it’s raining). Seating will be limited and socially distanced – consider bringing your own lawn chairs or blanket.

Visitors will also be invited to take self-guided tours of the house, which currently features a special exhibit of stories about past residents of the home. Please wear a mask when touring the house during the birthday party.

Then on Wednesday, Aug. 26, the Vernon County Museum will host a Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration. On Aug. 26, 1920, the U.S. Secretary of State certified ratification of the 19th Amendment, which prohibited denial of the right to vote on the basis of sex – that is, women won their right to vote.

The celebration will run from 4 to 6 p.m., outside on the north lawn under the ginkgo tree. Cupcakes will be served, there will be lots of fun and informational handouts, and a small pop-up exhibit called “Rightfully Hers,” created by the National Archives, will be on display.

At 4:30 p.m., party-goers will help re-create a suffrage-era protest march on the sidewalks around the museum. You are encouraged to wear period costume and to bring a sign advocating votes for women, but neither are necessary. As always at this time, everyone should wear a mask and maintain a safe distance from others.

Also in August, a local performance of a women’s suffrage play, “Failure is Impossible,” will be made available for viewing from the comfort and safety of your own home. The play was originally commissioned by the National Archives for the 75th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, and was performed for the first time on Aug. 26, 1995.

Local actors are now putting together a new performance, under the direction of Pam Kalinosky, to celebrate the 19th Amendment’s centennial. It’s a “readers’ theatre” type of play, and will be recorded with each actor in a separate place, and then the clips will be put together and historic images will be added to form a complete story. Everyone involved is working hard on acting techniques, costumes, and production value, so it should be great – more details soon!

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