- Associated Press - Sunday, June 24, 2018

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - At long last, the Peter Stuhr house is ready for visitors.

Since it was moved to the Stuhr Museum property in 2012, the house has gone through several renovations to restore it to its 1890s glory.

The so-called housewarming party is from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday.

The Grand Island Independent reports that the party is free and will include live music, speakers, free root beer sundaes, games and tours of the new building.

According to Mike Bockoven, the museum’s director of marketing, the house is the first new building in Stuhr Museum’s Railroad Town in more than 20 years.

“I’m really excited for everyone to see it. I think people will really like it,” said Kay Cynova, the director of interpretive resources. She has been working on the house since it was placed on the museum grounds.

When it arrived, the house was modernized, but Cynova said she and other employees at the museum have worked to make it look as close to the original house as possible.

This involved rebuilding windows, removing three layers of flooring, taking out a staircase to the basement and replacing the shingles, among other things.

For the house’s interior, museum employees had to find period-appropriate artifacts that would have been found in the home, such as a settee, a desk, beds and personal items like books and clothes. One of these artifacts, a functional, Laurel wood-burning stove, was donated before the house was at the museum.

Though the house is still a work in progress, Cynova said they’ve done so much work they want to finally share it with people.

Because Stuhr Museum is a living history museum, every artifact must be sturdy and useful, said Kari Stofer, a curator at the museum.

“We make sure everything is as documented as possible,” Stofer said.

She said the museum has found some items that needed restoration and that had to be reproduced because they were too fragile or too rare to be part of an interactive exhibit.

“The goal is to have many generations experience this,” Cynova said.

The house will first be open as an interpretive exhibit, and an interpreter will be in the house to answer questions and give information on the house’s history. In the future, people will be able to cook in the house and it will be part of classes for Heritage Activities for Today’s Students (HATS).

Bockoven and Cynova also said the house will be part of Christmas festivities at the museum this year.

“The possibilities are endless for what we can do with this site,” Cynova said.

The house is the childhood home of Leo Stuhr, the founder of the museum. It was previously near the JBS meatpacking plant and was moved in 2010 to make way for a parking lot.

With help from the Hall County Historical Society, the museum received enough money to accept the house, keeping in line with the museum policy of only taking property for which it has money to take care of.

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Information from: The Grand Island Independent, http://www.theindependent.com


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