Plainsman Stays Focused: Elarton Photography Studio Grand Opening September 17
For a few months now, there's been a buzz on the boardwalk. Sometimes it comes in the sound of hammer and saw, sometimes the swish of a paintbrush, or furniture moving here and there, and often the floor was covered with photographic candidates for display.
The newest addition in the main building of the Plainsman is a wonderful example of the unflagging teamwork our volunteers put into the care and display of the stories of Hamilton County. It's a lengthy process, starting at design and then building, furnishing from the archives, and presenting the visual and written information that rounds out the story of the artifacts.
Volunteers Gary Bayne, Larry Bengtson, Richard Gustafson, Dale Hoegh, Walt Jacobs, and Don Schaffert have been working alongside Plainsman building supervisor Norm Schachenmeyer and executive director Tina Larson to do just that - adding another chapter to the boardwalk story.
"The museum is like a storybook," says Tina Larson. "As you walk the boardwalk, each house or store is presenting a chapter in that story." From the boardwalk to the agricultural building to the historic home of General Delevan and Lana Bates, the District 66 Schoolhouse and the Grieser Blacksmith Shop - it all comes down to the same thing. Telling the history through the stories.
That's a great way to visualize the Plainsman. From room to room, from building to building, a story of Hamilton County emerging from a budding nation as homesteaders became town builders, and families came together to learn to live on this land.
So why a photography studio? Well, history is encapsulated in the myriad of photographs we have on file and the stories behind the photographs.
"History is in photograph - the faces and places. But it really lives in the conversations and connections we have while looking at the photographs. Remembering if we were there, sharing with those younger than us who may not have been, discovering a whole world that is both the same and much changed here in our county.
The Elarton Studio has everything from cameras to photographic glass plates to iconic photos of Dr. Harold Edgerton's work and even a Victorian backdrop and chair where visitors can make some memories of their own! The collection of antique cameras in the front window is an invitation to explore, learn, remember, and listen to the stories told by each artifact and photo.