Head Family Museum suffers damage after heavy precipitation

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By Taylor Riley

The Oldham County Historical Society announced last week that the Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum, part of the Oldham County History Center campus, will be temporarily closed for repairs of damage caused by recent weather conditions.

The museum was founded in 1998, but the building, located on the corner of North 2nd and West Jefferson Streets, dates back to 1840 and is in need of immediate repairs that make it unsafe for visitors at this time, according to Dr. Nancy Stearns Theiss, Executive Director of the Oldham County History Center.

“The weather has been really hard on the building,” Theiss said.

Recent winter weather turmoil has caused water damage to the ceilings and has quickly damaged an already dilapidated roof.  The roof will be the first of many needed repairs. Theiss said the estimate is $40,000-$50,000 for roof repairs.

“Until we get the roof off, we won’t know what’s happening with the rest of the building,” Theiss said.

Board President Bob Martin said in a press release that the museum’s roof, “must be replaced, not repaired.”

Water spots that were already present on the building’s ceilings have spread to larger areas and copies of documents from the second floor WWII exhibit were damaged this past weekend due to water.

I Pledge Allegiance: Honoring Our World War II Veterans, has drawn more visitors to the museum than any other, according to Theiss.

“We’ve been vigilant in watching (the damages), but we just have to get it fixed now,” Theiss said.
The heating and cooling system, too, may be damaged due to water.

The History Center is in the midst of a $2 million campus renovation campaign to update its three buildings inside and out.

Theiss said that, so far, $300,000 of the total amount has been raised and will be used toward the recovery of the roof.
Theiss said the house is in need of general updates on exhibits and if the society raises enough money soon, the Head Family Museum will continue to be closed down for exhibit renovations; if not, the roof and elevator will be the first to be fixed.

“We had hoped to keep the building open until the actual renovation started, but not now,” Martin said.
The Oldham County Historical Society was founded in 1958 and has been collecting records, artifacts, photographs, court documents and historical memorabilia on local events and places as well as cemetery records.

The other two buildings that make up the campus, the J.C. Barnett Libraries and Archives and the Rob Morris Educational Building, will remain open and in use through the Head Family Museum’s renovations. All programs and events will also go on as scheduled.