When the Dysart Historical Society set out to raise $125,000+ in just a few months they did not just knock on one door. They pieced it together from 7+ foundations and organizations each contributing a couple thousand dollars in addition to donations from local businesses, nonprofits and individuals. But just as important was the in-kind labor valued over $15,000. The Dysart Historical Ag Museum & Interpretive Center is one of the five projects that help define Tama County as an Iowa Great Place which also helped other organizations raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. Remind me – what are the EDIES.
HOW WE DID IT:
The Dysart Historical Society completed the third phase of the Historical Center with the addition of an Agricultural Museum and Interpretive Center in 2011. It complements the 118 year old historical museum and the Tama County rural school on the site at 612 Crisman Street. It enhances the Society’s mission which is: “to insure the preservation and appreciation of the community’s historical, agricultural, and educational heritage and culture, thereby providing a solid foundation for the future.”
HOW WE GOT THE IDEA:
The Dysart Historical Society had received many agriculturally related artifacts over the years and had run out of space to display them. We really needed another building. When the opportunity arose to apply for Iowa Great Places status and funding, we seized the opportunity and became part of the Tama County effort.
OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE:
The greatest challenge was obtaining enough funding for the agricultural museum building project.
HOW WE OVERCAME IT:
We applied for grants, sent out letters to our members and other community members, and had fund raisers. We have had a number of grants, generous support from our City and community organizations, contributions from some businesses, both local and farm residents and from friends near and far.
ADVICE TO OTHERS:
Dare to dream big with a shared vision. Be sure committees are active, positive, enthusiastic, and ambitious. Be certain to have a person on the committee with practical financial knowledge and experience. Brainstorm and welcome all new ideas for consideration.
WHAT IS NEXT:
The Historical Society has a small amount of debt which we need to take care of, our first financial goal. Next, we want to expand and improve our museum displays and develop interesting programs for members of our community
as well as for the visitors, all of whom are coming to the Historical Center in increasing numbers.
For more information on the Dysart Historical Society, go to their webpage and listen to their radio interview on Radio Z95.5 FM on Friday, January 20 at 8:45 a.m.
Photo by Randy Aiken [Cathy Wieck]