When the Dickinson County Heritage Center opens at 10 a.m. Wednesday for the annual youth art show, guests will also see a renovated lobby and new exhibits.
The museum was closed throughout January as new sheetrock, ceiling and lights were installed. The lobby was painted, new carpet was laid and the desk expanded.
Austin Anders, executive director, said the renovations were long overdue, but problems with the roof and ceiling were the driving force behind getting the work done when they did.
“We had the roof redone a while ago, and unfortunately we had some issues with the way the roof was done and it caused some water damage in the ceiling,” Anders said. “We decided if we close down for January we might as well do the new carpet and the rest of the work at the same time.”
While renovations in the lobby were underway, museum staff also worked on the displays. In the Historical Society Museum, a new display showcases the different city bands that have performed throughout Dickinson County over the years.
In the Museum of Independent Telephony, the exhibit was updated to include some modern-day displays.
“We expanded out the telephone timeline to include Sprint and T-Mobile and what they have contributed to our area,” Anders said. “And, we introduced the cell phone age to the museum.”
The reopening of the museum was timed to align with the youth art display, which features more than 400 pieces of work from student artists representing nearly every school in the county.
There is a $4 charge to view the artwork, which will go toward next year’s cash prizes. When visitors enter, they will receive a ballot on which they can vote for their favorite artwork by an elementary school, middle school and high school student.
Anders said he and Barry West, who taught art in Abilene schools for about 30 years and sits on the Heritage Center board of directors, were impressed with the work.
“It’s really amazing to see what the art students are doing in the county,” Anders said. “It’s not all paintings and drawings either. There’s clay and other three-dimensional work.”
The show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
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