The old adage states that “you can’t know where you are going, without knowing where you have been.” Here at the Martin County Historical Society we wholeheartedly believe that saying and, to that end, we try to provide engaging historic displays and programs that make history engaging and enriching.
Our own history goes back to 1929 when the MCHS was created and the first meetings being held in the county courthouse in Fairmont. The MCHS was officially incorporated in 1954. The St. Paul's Catholic School, no longer in use after classes were moved to a new building, was purchased by Dr. & Mrs. Roscoe Hunt for the MCHS to use as a museum in 1956; the school was rechristened as the Pioneer Museum. Since then the museum has only grown with new displays and projects. In 1994-95 an addition to the museum was constructed which now holds the main lobby area. In 2003 a Research Library and additional offices were formed. An elevator was added on in 2007. Recently in 2009 the house adjacent to the museum was purchased. This home was previously the rectory for the St. Paul’s Catholic Priests who were associated with the school which now houses the museum. The building is currently being restored in the fashion of a 1910s-1930s style home by our helpful committee of generous and amazing volunteers. This significant purchase not only adds historic flavor to the MCHS campus but will also provide much needed extra space for more displays and artifacts. Another critical addition has been the Martin County Genealogy Society who has been making the Pioneer Museum its home since 2008.
We primarily work out of the Pioneer Museum which features numerous displays throughout its three stories. The basement holds many of our larger items including very old motor vehicles and carriages, the county’s first motorized fire truck, and police and fire department displays. The main floor houses the lobby which has an excellent local music display and a new display based on the county’s old homes, with several excellent pictures, both new and old. The main floor also has three rooms based on Pioneer living, military history, and commercial history from the county’s past. The upper floor also has three display rooms that showcase the area’s educational past, fashions throughout time, medical history, and cultural/entertainment/sports history.
The MCHS has year-round programming for all ages to enjoy and learn from. Our museum is open Monday through Friday (8:30am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-4:30pm), the whole year, and is free of admission to allow everyone the chance to visit and learn. Along with our museum and displays, we have held historically themed PowerPoint presentations, open houses on holidays, Ghost tours, Walking tours, and 1st, 3rd, and 5th Grade class tours of the museum, amongst other historical programs. We also take our PowerPoint Presentations on the road, presenting them free of charge in schools, assisted living homes, retirement homes, churches, etc. We have recently begun a program of video recording the stories of veterans. As well, there is work being done, almost continually, to restore the Pioneer Parsonage. We also consistently bring in new artifacts and documents for our records and displays. We also aid with genealogical or historical research in the county or can do research projects ourselves (for a research fee).
Our mission at the MCHS is to “…Preserve and share the history of Martin County by acquiring, conserving, appropriately displaying, and making it accessible for viewing, research, and educational purposes.” We endeavor to do that every day to the best of our abilities. However, our efforts would be in vain without those who support us, both in small and large ways. We cannot expand our programming without support. We cannot build and add new displays without support. We cannot fulfill the MCHS Mission without support. Any contribution of time, resources, or money goes far in enabling us and helping us continue the MCHS mission for the benefit of those who made history and those who are learning from it.