Franklin County Historical Society

After being closed for a year, a Union museum has reopened with several events on its calendar.

The Franklin County Historical Society Museum hosted a book signing with Wildwood author Dr. Ken Johnson Saturday, April 24.

Johnson signed copies of his book, “Moonlight Serenade to City Lights,” which features photos from long-ago bands and orchestras in Missouri, including some from Union and Washington.

Roy “Buz” Ritchey, who is shown in a 1967 photo in the book, sang at the signing.

The event was held a week after Wayne Winchester gave a presentation on his book, “Jensen Point, Stop and Reminisce.”

Dennis Eilers will be the guest speaker May 18 at 2:30 p.m., when will discuss his family’s land in the Clearview Road area.

The museum was mostly closed during the pandemic, just a year after moving to its current location at 209 E. Main St., though its board of directors continued to work.

“We were open for appointments and things but didn’t get a lot of that,” Vice President Lynn Wagner said.

Attendance has been good at the museum since it reopened in March, with the Winchester event drawing 30 visitors, some visiting from as far away as New Hampshire, Wagner said.

Now back to its work of telling the stories of businesses and families in the county, the museum is planning new exhibits. One such exhibit includes an organ that’s more than 100 years old. Wagner said there’s also plans for a display on the “seedy side” of Franklin County’s history, with mug shots from the 1920s and 1930s from the state archives.

The exhibit, expected to debut in July, will feature mug shots of Murrel Sorenson, who claimed her husband took his own life. “It turned out it was murder, and she went to jail,” Wagner said.

The museum has about 1,000 total items, though not all are on display all the time. Most are related to Franklin County.

Its cache includes many items from local schools, and museum officials say they are looking for more, such as old yearbooks and letter jackets.

The museum is open for its regular hours from noon to 4 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays and second and fourth Saturdays of each month. Wagner would like to open more days but said the museum will need more than its seven current volunteers for that.