A Pittsburg State history teacher and PSU students from several departments have helped bring a forgotten museum back from the brink of being closed forever.

The Crawford County Historical Museum had for several years struggled financially, drew few visitors, and had just one staff member who was not paid, with no volunteers and no board. That staff member turned the keys and the contents over to the Crawford County Commission in May 2015.

A few months later, with the endorsement of the commission, Amanda Minton, an adjunct history teacher in PSU’s Department of History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences, stepped forward to lead the effort to revitalize and reopen it. Minton earned her bachelor’s degree in 2003 and master’s in 2011, and had done an internship at the museum as a student.

“I felt strongly that it be saved,” she said.

Joining her was Mason Lovelace, who holds a master’s degree in history from PSU and now serves as vice president of the board. He had read about the museum’s plight and it tugged at his heartstrings.

They joined others in leveraging community resources and grants to make repairs and carve out new and interesting spaces. They developed a new logo and a new online presence.

And they engaged groups of PSU students. Senior Savannah Mitchell, Louisburg, and her fellow ROTC cadets helped move heavy collections, reconstructed exhibit walls, and controlled traffic and parking at large events. At a recent World War II re-enactment, they engaged with visitors by providing an up-close look at military vehicles.

“History is and always will be an important part of our future career as Army Officers, and we are lucky to be a part of a town that finds preserving history important,” she said.

PSU Freshman Lauren Hurt, from Pittsburg, remembers as an elementary school student going to the museum on field trips — particularly the historic general store located on the museum grounds.

Adjunct history teacher Amanda Minton (BGS ‘03,  MA ‘11), and several PSU student organizations and groups have helped re-open the shuttered Crawford County Historical Museum.

She was happy to be part of breathing new life into it as a member of Circle K, a collegiate service club that Minton advises, which helped at a 1940s Christmas party and with childen’s programs.

Other PSU groups involved in the rehab included the PSU Volleyball team, Interior Design students, and the School of Construction.

“As a PSU alumna, I feel that it is important for the students and faculty to give back to the community that gives so generously to our University,” Minton said. “When we perform community service alongside students, we are teaching the students how to get involved in the community after graduation, and they hopefully will want to donate their time, talent and treasure to their future communities.”