This year the Vernon County Museum is celebrating the centenary of its building, which was originally the Vernon County Normal School. A normal school is a teachers training college. Students who came through the Vernon County Normal School, which closed in 1971, usually went on to teach in the rural schools that were once found all over the county.
To help celebrate this 100th birthday, and in honor of those rural schools and their teachers and students, the Vernon County Historical Society is helping to sponsor a free screening of the film, “Jerry Apps: One Room School.” The film will be shown Saturday, Oct. 12, on the big screen at the Temple Theatre, 116 S. Main St., Viroqua.
The event will begin with refreshments served at 3 p.m., and the film will start at 4 p.m. The film was created by Wisconsin Public Television. The Viroqua Public Library and the Temple Theatre are co-sponsoring the event with us.
Jerry Apps is a Wisconsin historian and writer. He attended a one-room school in the 1940’s in Waushara County. Apps grew up on a farm and walked a mile to that school. He loved school, and in the documentary he enjoys telling stories about his early days there.
Join us this Saturday for this special event. Everyone is welcome to attend.
If you would like to learn more about Vernon County’s rural schools, then stop by the museum sometime to do research using our resources. The museum’s archives contains files on each of the one- and two-room schools that once dotted the surrounding countryside. Some files contain a lot of information, including photographs, lists of teachers, and reminiscences by former students, and other files contain just a little, but you are sure to find something.
The museum also has a school records room that holds the attendance record books, school board minutes, treasurers’ books, and other records that have been donated to the archives over the years. Again, the collection is not complete, but you may find something of interest there.
Throughout October, the museum is open Monday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m.