The computers had gone down, then the furnace, then the electrical alarm board.
“Every month there was something,” Morris said.
That spring the women decided to use the 150th anniversary as a springboard for a capital campaign, which ended up raising about $160,000. With the recession that hit in 2008, the funding had been secured in the nick of time.
“By the time of the recession we had a new furnace, new computers, a new copier ... ,” Morris said.
Then there was the need for handicap-accessibility upgrades. With the advent of Legacy Funds, the society wrote a successful grant last year for $48,000 to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, including installing a lift to the balcony and a main-floor bathroom.
A successful grant for $6,500 also was written to hire a researcher to evaluate the Hoffman Honey Farm in Janesville Township for possible inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
Finally, Morris said, on the heels of that grant, she wrote another grant for the planning of an interpretive exhibit for a timeline of unique stories of Waseca County.
The society secured $7,000 to hire a consultant to help create the plan for the project. Getting the plan finalized will allow the society to write another grant to implement the project, which will be housed in the balcony of the society.
“The actual exhibit will be a combination of panels and artifacts and photographs,” she said.
Morris is keeping most details under wraps, including who the consultant might be. She has determined the 20 stories that likely will be included and has already written teasers, which she plans to dole out publicly every so often to pique interest.
For now, mum’s the word.
The society hopes to have the definitive plan for the timeline exhibit completed by this summer, and the earliest implementation would be spring 2014, Morris said.