SALINE COUNTY – The Saline County Historical Society is preparing for warm weather, and will be meeting Tuesday to plan its schedule, historical society President Mark Motsinger says.
That means activity at the Saline Creek Pioneer Village and Museum will increase, and Motsinger said additional volunteers would be greatly appreciated.
"We've not had anyone out there because we've not had any volunteers," he said. "But, we have a couple of people who will be able to spend some time there and possibly another gentleman."
There are some volunteers for specific activities, such as cleanup days or moving structures, he said. More helping hands, though, can make those projects go faster, Motsinger said.
Volunteers do not need to join the historical society, either, he said. Rather, the group will welcome any extra help.
In fact, Motsinger said, publicity surrounding recent damage to the museum buildings has had a positive outcome.
"We've had many people who have shown interest in the museum since then," he said. "We had Terry Brinkley donate a camera and Chris Street donate eight more cameras for security and we've had other people ask how they can help us."
On Dec. 8, during the Harrisburg Lights Parade, three female juveniles allegedly set fire or attempted to set fire to a portion of at least one building at the museum. Because police and fire personnel were at the head of the Lights Parade, they were only a few short blocks from the museum when the fire was reported.
It remains unclear whether the state fire marshal's office has finished a report, whether criminal charges were recommended and if such charges have been filed. Multiple information requests to the state fire marshal's office by this newspaper have not been returned.
Motsinger said the historical society also has been left without information regarding the status of the juveniles.
"Because there are juveniles involved, a lot of that information is confidential, but I thought we would know a little more than we do," he said.
He said he was told the state fire marshal's office did finish its report at some point.
Toward the end of December, additional vandalism was reported at the museum, which he said he believes was retaliation.
"I really think that someone wanted to get back at us because someone got in trouble," he said.
But, not all news about the museum has been a result of damage. The museum has been featured in two segments of "Grace, Camo & Lace," a new show on the Sportsman Channel hosted by Alli and Adriana Armstrong of Hardin County.
"It actually has been going on for a little while. The Armstrong girls are also doing some promotional videos for Saline County Tourism. Saline County Tourism helped sponsor them on their show," Motsinger said.
Motsinger also is on the tourism board.
He also said having some new members in the historical society has helped build enthusiasm for projects.
To volunteer to help or to offer donations, Motsinger recommended contacting the historical society through the group's Facebook page. This can be done by entering "Saline County Historical Society" on the Facebook search box.