Plainsman Museum


In this week's One Tank Trip, we take a look at a a museum that was built by the community and in the process is telling its story.
"I used to walk by it all the time and I said well sitting at home watching television doesn't do me any good, so now I come in here and I'm interested and i try to improve it for the town," said Don Jares.
Jares volunteers for the Plainsman Museum in Aurora. He's been telling its stories for five years now and is one of many who is impressed by the collection.
"When people come in they are amazed at what we have for being a small town museum, our collection, our murals, we have a lot to see that people don't expect to see when they come," said museum director Megan Sharp.
Some of the surprises that the museum offers are a sod house, Civil War memorbilia, a soda parlor and a replica of a boardwalk that will take you down memory lane.
So people could walk into a general store, see what that was like to shop in a general store
or clothing store. We have a drug store, it's just kind of neat to see that you're actually walking down the street and what that was like in the past.
Another unique collection is the almost 1,000 dolls that the museum has collected over the years.
"People are really impressed by our doll collection. They either really find it interesting or kind of find it intimidating to walk through this many dolls," said Sharp.
The museum focuses mainly on history from 1850 to 1950 with many local people contributing to its success. Murals and a mosaic floor pattern from local artists are canvasses of
their own.
"We have a lot of great artists here in Aurora and Hamilton county so it's great to be able
to show off their work. "
With the Edgerton Explorit Center right next door, families can make a stop in Aurora and still be able to come back and see more.
"I've been here five years and still haven't seen it all," said Jares.
The museum relies on donations and numerous volunteers.
Many retired farmers like Jares volunteer their time to tell the story of Hamilton County.