MUSEUM PLANS FOR SCHMECKFEST DRIVE-THRU
Normally, staff and volunteers at Heritage Hall Museum and Archives (HHM&A) would be busy this time of year gearing up for an influx of visitors as part of the annual Schmeckfest activities at the adjacent Freeman Academy campus.
“Of course, nothing has been normal since COVID-19 spread across the globe and reached South Dakota in early March last year 2020,” says Marnette (Ortman) Hofer, executive director and archivist of HHM&A. “The cancellation of Schmeckfest 2020 was the start of a dramatic drop in visitors to our museum over the past 12 months.”
Although the traditional Schmeckfest activities have been cancelled this year as well, the Freeman Academy Auxiliary is planning a “drive-thru Schmeckfest” with homemade ethnic food items and Schmeckfest sausage to be sold March 19-20 and 26-27. Hofer says the museum staff and volunteers are also preparing to welcome guests those days.
“We will be open with extended afternoon-evening hours Friday and Saturday both weekends, so people can stop by at their convenience,” she says. “We invite everyone coming to pick up their Schmeckfest food items to include a visit to our museum.”
The museum will be open both days both weekends from noon to 8 p.m. (Normal winter hours are weekdays from noon to 4 p.m.) As a special promotion, the museum is offering a “family package” those four days; children under the age of 12 will be admitted free when accompanied by adults.
“Although the numbers of visitors has been down significantly this past year, we’ve been busy with some major projects all year long and we’re eager to show people what we’ve been up to,” Hofer says.
New lighting in the Tieszen-Unruh wing;
A rearranged and revamped transportation display that includes the addition of a gas station exhibit;
A new Abe Kautz display;
A dairy exhibit;
Refreshed and updated displays throughout the museum;
Renovations at the Bethel Church;
A new welcome area for visitors;
A new look for the lobby including an expanded mercantile, a gift shop that features items handcrafted by local artisans – stained glass, artwork, notecards, handmade soap, knitted items, etc. – as well as books by local authors.
“We’re looking forward to sharing these new features at our museum during the 2021 version of Schmeckfest and we’re hoping to see a return of visitors as we come out of this pandemic phase of life,” Hofer said.
She noted, however, that HHM&A is continuing to take precautions because of COVID-19; masks are required.
Although there is an admission fee to tour the museum, the archives are open to the public at no charge; anyone wanting research assistance is encouraged to call 605-925-7545 or email email@example.com.
Additional information is available online at heritagehallmuseum.com and on the Heritage Hall Museum and Archives Facebook page.