Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Welcome to 2020! It's going to be a great year at the Ozark County Historium, with several new things in the planning stages. First up is a new quilt exhibit, this time featuring the quilts of Virginia Gaskell McMurtrey of Dora.
Virginia has been making quilts for more than 60 years, and she estimates she has made a MINIMUM of 200 big quilts, as well as hundreds of small wallhangings, table runners, baby quilts, etc. She has shared a sampling of her work for us to display. Be sure to come in to the Historium to see it -- the display will continue until mid-March.

COMING SOON! Struggling for Statehood, an exhibit provided by the Missouri Humanities Council, will fill our space for six weeks, beginning March 2. As we approach the Bicentennial of the State of Missouri in 2021, we're thinking about what it took for Missouri to become a state. Come in when we have this fine exhibit to learn more about the process, which included the controversial Missouri Compromise.

CIVIL WAR DISCUSSION GROUP CONTINUES: On the third Thursday of each month, a group gathers at the Historium to discuss things that happened during the Civil War. If you are interested in the historic conflict and the effect it had on Ozark County, please join us! The next meeting will be on Thursday, February 20, at 10:00. A warm welcome and a hot coffee pot await you! Everyone is welcome.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Donna Murphy Walker

Our newest quilt exhibit at the Ozark County Historium is a varied collection from the delightful Donna Walker, Ozark County native now living in Ava, Mo.

Donna, age 92, has a life-long love affair with quilts and fabric! She owned a fabric store in Gainesville at one time, and she made her first quilt when she was 10 years old.

Please come by and see this wonderful, colorful display when you are in Gainesville. And look for the story about Donna in the Nov. 6, 2019 issue of the Ozark County Times!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Wouldn't you just LOVE to be able to say you painted this lovely scene? Well, you have that very opportunity! Jim Tindall, painting instructor extraordinaire, will return to the Historium on Tuesday, November 5, at 5:00 to teach this class. Cost is $50, which includes everything -- supplies and instruction (and maybe a homemade cookie!) Let us know if you'd like to join the class. Email at ozarkco1@ozarkcountyhistory.org or call the Historium during hours of 10-2, Monday thru Friday, at 417-679-2400 to register. We'd ask that you prepay so we can be assured of having enough participants. It's going to be GREAT!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Finally, October is here! There is the promise of cooler weather and fall color ahead -- at the Historium, we cannot wait!

We have two things coming up this month that we're excited to announce! First, on Thursday, October 10, at 10:00 a.m., Dr. Brooks Blevins of MSU-Springfield will speak about his new book, History of the Ozarks, Volume 2--The Conflicted Ozarks. 

Dr. Blevins, who will have copies of his book for sale, is a gifted speaker, and this talk will surely be of interest to the many who are interested in knowing about the Civil War's impact on the Ozarks. This event is free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served! Hope to see a good crowd next week!

Second, Michelle Werther, our basket queen, is going to teach another beginner basket-making class on Tuesday, October 15, at 10:00. For this event, there is a charge -- $45, which covers instruction and all supplies. You'll go home at the end of the session with a small market basket like this:

Let us know if you'd like to be part of this class so we can have plenty of supplies on hand. You can call  the Historium at 417-679-2400 or email us at ozarkco1@ozarkcountyhistory.org.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


An exciting new class is being offered at the Historium next month! Vicky York, Certified Master Porcelain Artist, will teach a beginner's china painting series in which participants will learn to paint a hummingbird on a china saucer. The cost is $100 for three painting sessions, three firings, all paint and supplies. Plus, Vicky will be conducting a tour of her home studio and firing room for those taking the class. Dates for the classes are Sept 4, 11 and 18, from 10-12, at the Historium.

Vicky began learning this beautiful craft at age 19, and she has become a Master, teaching all over the country and in Europe for many years. Her works have been featured on the covers of professional publications and she has won many awards at competitions and shows.

When Vicky and her husband retired to Ozark County two years ago, she decided she was not going to travel to teach any longer. But she paints every day and is now ready to do a few classes at the local level

You may sign up at the Historium or call there at 417-679-2400; or you can email at ozarkco1@ozarkcountyhistory.org. Classes must be prepaid, and a minimum of six participants is needed.

Many fine examples of Vicky's work are also now on display at the Historium and may be viewed during regular hours of operation -- 10-2, Monday through Friday. The exhibit will be in place through September 18. There is no charge to see these beautiful works of art.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Jim Tindall, noted artist from Mtn. View, Arkansas, will return to the Ozark County Historium on July 16 to teach another painting class!
Those participating in the class will be led, step by step, to paint this lovely picture of roses. The cost is $50, payable to the Ozark County Historium; all supplies are included. The class will begin at 5:00 p.m. and run about two hours or slightly more. Jim is wonderful at giving lots of hands-on help and is a delightful and informative teacher. His classes are always fun as well as productive. Join us by calling the Historium to sign up at 417-679-2400. Or mail a check (right away!) to OCGHS, PO Box 4, Gainesville, MO, 65655. Class size is limited so don't delay!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Blacksmiths were essential members of early Ozarks communities, performing necessary tasks vital to the daily life of settlers. Using anvil, hammer and forge, their skills in heating and shaping metal allowed them to build and repair tools such as plows, wagon wheels, knives and other implements that were essential to the life of people who were settling a new country.
   Today, blacksmiths, while fewer in number, still work with metal, heating and shaping it in much the same way. But because of the ready availability of mass-produced tools, the products produced are often quite different. There is a still a demand for high-quality, handmade metal objects, but now blacksmiths are able to focus on specialty items -- and in the case of one Ozark County man, the end result is art.
   Jim Davis of Thornfield is reluctant to allow his creations to be called art because he doesn’t consider himself an artist. However, when examples of Davis’s work are displayed at the Ozark County Historium for the next several weeks, those who see it are going to know that this is not the work of an ordinary metalworker. Davis is a metal sculptor whose pieces reflect creativity, ornamentation and whimsy, all hallmarks of true art.
   While many artists have moved to the Ozarks seeking inspiration, that was not the case for Jim and his wife, Carol, who came to Ozark County in 1975. They were, instead, looking for a small farm where they could introduce their children to a country life. Jim grew up in eastern Oregon, and Carol hailed from Florida. They met and married in California, and later lived in Colorado where they owned a motel. Yet they longed for a quiet, rural place where they could have some animals and teach their children about a more nature-connected lifestyle. While passing through Ava, they fell in love with the area and found their acreage near Thornfield.
   The pair of non-farmers had to figure out a way to make a living for themselves and their son and daughter, so they determinedly taught themselves skills, such as raising feeder pigs and then early weaners, cows and even cats. Jim also collected and traded antique tools, a hobby that turned into a profitable side business. They remodeled the small circa-1939 farmhouse, and Carol gardened and planted flowers, creating a haven of tranquility near the headwaters of the Little North Fork of the White River.  
   Ten years ago, a frightening accident was the impetus for a life change for Jim. He fell from a tree while hanging a swing for his granddaughter and broke his back, and the forced recuperation gave him time to think about what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. Jim drew and sketched as a child and had always enjoyed building and designing things, so working with metal seemed like a natural progression. Once he was back on his feet, metal working began in earnest, and according to Jim, it continues to be “the thing that gives me the most satisfaction.”
Jim, whose website www.ornametalthings.com shows fine examples of his creations, uses a traditional, coal-fired forge, as well as a propane-fueled one, depending upon the need. He has three treasured antique anvils, all with a story to tell.
   “This one is really special,” he notes of a beauty weighing upwards of 450 lbs. “It was made for railroad work.” As Jim taps each in turn, he notes the different sounds created by metal on metal. It is music to this sculptor’s ears.
   Jim enjoys making things, from farm gates to furniture to kaleidoscopes, for his family members, neighbors and customers who seek him out from far and near. He holds membership in ABANA (Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America), BAM (Blacksmiths Association of Missouri), the Ava Art Guild, and the Area Art Club in Mtn. Home and regularly participates in shows and exhibits.
   Jim Davis’s metal sculptures, which will appeal to children as well as adults of all ages, will be on display at the Historium from May 24 through June. The exhibit is free and open to all. The Historium, located on the west side of the square in Gainesville, is open from 10-2, Monday through Friday. For more information, call the Historium at 417-679-2400, or email at ozarkco1@ozarkcountyhistory.org.