County historical society to move

The Franklin County Historical Society, pictured Aug. 3 at 209 E. Main St. in Union, is searching for a new location. The historical society is trying to raise $400,000 for a new museum space.

After two years at 209 E. Main St. in Union, the Franklin County Historical Society is looking for a new home.

“We’ve been blessed to have this location for two years,” historical society President Lynn Wagner said. “It’s been a great location.”

Wednesday, Aug. 4, will be the final day the museum is open at the location just northwest of the old Franklin County Courthouse. The building is being vacated following the death of its owner, Bob Hansen, in June.

“He, apparently, had other plans for it,” Wagner said. “He always talked about putting a park there.”

Union Parks Director Chad Pohlmann said he has heard nothing official about any plans to put a park at the site.

The historical society, which has no paid staff, is looking to raise $400,000 for a new museum space, which Wagner said would ideally be comparable to the current museum, which is 2,400 square feet plus 600 square feet of storage space. She said the historical society would prefer a site near the current location. “We’re trying to stay centrally located, but if we have to go out a little bit, that’s not an issue.”

The historical society was in a nearby space at 15 N. Oak St. for about eight years before moving to its current location. That space also was owned by Hansen. Wagner said he gave the historical society the choice of which building it wanted to use.

“We picked the one with the better layout and the better lighting,” she said. “Bob was always a supporter of the Franklin County Historical Society. He was one of the founding members back in the ’60s. He’s let us use buildings for close to 10 years now.”

Hansen helped launch East Central College and was on its board from 1968 until 1996. He took on the family business, Hansen Franklin County Land Title & Abstract Co., and also co-owned Hansen-Schroeder Realtors.

If the historical society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is unable to buy a building immediately, it would be willing to move into a temporary facility.

“If we don’t find a building right away, then we’re going to put items in climate-controlled storage,” Wagner said. “The items that are on loan will go back to their owners, and the items that are owned by the museum will go into storage.”

The museum will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday. 

Donations can be mailed to Franklin County Historical Society, P.O. Box 293, Union, MO 63084 or made online at bit.ly/2VlUGgO.