The St. Clair Historical Society’s Appraisal Fair Saturday brought a steady stream of people hoping their antique or heirloom might be that hidden treasure.
The event, much like the television show “Antique Roadshow,” featured seasoned appraisers of much expertise from the St. Louis area.
Some of the more unusual items brought in for appraisal were an old Marx Brothers movie poster in French, antique paintings, an art-deco lamp and a unique wooden box filled with accessories for an old treadle sewing machine, St. Clair Historical Society President Carol Radford said.
“There were certainly a lot of unusual items,” she said. “I sat out front checking people in so I didn’t get to hear much about the items, but there were a lot of unique things brought in.”
Radford said the Appraisal Fair raised about $700, and will get a match of $500 from Modern Woodmen of America.
The appraisers all volunteered their time to help the museum, and Historical Society Secretary Carla Wulfers said they told her they would be happy to come back again should the Historical Society decide to hold another appraisal fair next year.
The appraisers included Arthur J. Ressl of A.A. Appraisers, Ballwin; Ralph Wilke of Ralph’s Relics and Designs, Crestwood; Tom Knox of Alamo Military Collectibles, St. Louis; Paul Oligschlaeger, an independent appraiser of St. Charles; Jonathan Kodner of Kodner Art Gallery, Ladue; and Hamlin’s Restoration Studio, Ellisville.
The event brings the museum one step closer to opening its doors to a new historical museum on 560 Main St. next to Farmers & Merchants Bank.
The Historical Society bought the 3,000-plus-square-foot building March 17, 2015.
The former museum on Hibbard Street was destroyed by a fire in February 2014.
Radford said there are a few more things that need to be done before the museum will get its permit to open its doors, and she hopes the museum will be open to the public sometime after the first of the year.
Since June of 2014, space donated by Mark and Sue Lindemann next to their business, St. Clair Health Mart Pharmacy, has served as a temporary museum.
The new museum will be greatly-expanded with about 800 more square feet than the Hibbard Street location, which will allow for more exhibits surrounding the history of St. Clair.
New to the museum will be a large schoolroom, and a photographers nook, which will feature not only pictures, but a large collection of vintage cameras.
There will be one long side of the museum that will have displays of stores that once occupied the Main Street of long ago, Radford said.
“There will be a post office, general store, pharmacy and bank,” Radford said.
Also, there are plans for a milliner’s and clothing display, and a time line on one wall of the city of St. Clair, from the Native American occupation to Route 66, and a veterans display.
Recently, a woman from Union donated a two-wheel horse cart, which Radford hopes to be able to restore and actually use in parades.
“We’ll also need to find a horse to pull it because mine won’t,” she said.
The same woman also donated a bottle capper used to cap old bottles, which Radford said was an unusual item.
Historical Society Secretary Wulfers told The Missourian in a previous article that the Historical Society has a new vision for the museum, which will include programs, projects, guest speakers and other events for people of all ages.
Some of the programs Wulfers and Radford would like to see include quilting, care of cast iron cookware, craft projects for children and sewing programs.
Funding Still Needed
For the Historical Society, the fundraising is ongoing. The organization will feature a booth at the R & R Craft Fair Saturday, selling Volume 1 of their cookbook series, calendars and baked goods.
The temporary museum also will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.