Oldham County Historical Society
County Historical Society
reaps big reward at this years Gala
proceeds will help
pay for its programs and more
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (November 2012) The 2012 Oldham
County Historical Societys annual fundraising Gala far exceeded
organizers expectations. It is an event many in the community eagerly
anticipate, and it benefits a non-profit group that provides a much
needed cultural element to maintaining the countys past, local
This was our second most successful Gala. We raised $39,000,
said Nancy Stearns Theiss, the societys executive director. This
amount was only surpassed in 2007 when the organization raised $40,000.
The Gala was held Sept. 28 on the grounds of the History Center in downtown
La Grange and attracted 245 people, Theiss said. The event always carries
a theme, usually one where attendees can dress the part as they enjoy
supporting a local entity.
by Don Ward
County Historical Society
Board President Bob Martin (left)
presents the J. Chilton Barnett
Champion of History Award to Bill
Samuels Jr. of Makers Mark during
the societys Gala fundraiser, held
Sept. 28 in La Grange, Ky.
I think the theme of the Bootleggers Ball
and lots of publicity helped, said Theiss. In addition, Bill Samuels
Jr. of Makers Mark received the J. Chilton Barnett Champion of
History award the same evening. He is a well recognized advocate
of Kentucky history, she added.
Theiss said Samuels participation in a Champion of History role
increased peoples awareness of historic preservation.
The Oldham County Historical Society was established in 1959 with the
goal of preserving, collecting and conveying the history of the county
through telling the story of its people and events that shaped its development.
The money raised from the Gala goes toward the annual operating costs
of the three buildings on the property the J.C. Barnett
Library and Archives Building, the Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum
and the Rob Morris Educational Building. As for future goals, Theiss
said, We are exploring the possibility of remodeling our museum,
but we do not have any particular projects as of yet.
Funding also benefits educational programs that are provided throughout
the year. Program offerings this year have included: New Harmonies:
Celebrating American Roots Music, a Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit
sponsored by The Smithsonian Institute and the Kentucky Humanities Council;
Bottoms Up: J.C. Barnett Whiskey Jug Exhibit (ongoing for
the year); The Lunch Bunch series (programs that featured a variety
of speakers, such as author Albert Schmid); The Art of Richard Luce
exhibit; and the American Girls Book Club Series, a childrens
The Gala is an open event and anyone can attend for the price of a ticket.
Many items were donated for the live and silent auctions. Some big ticket
items were donated this year, which no doubt increased the amount of
money raised, Theiss said. The auctioned items included a Lynns
Paradise Café Buddy Pepper Party for 20, a weeks stay at
the Maison Rose in France, catered Ohio River cruise, and catered lunch
at Makers Mark with a tour provided by Samuels.
Many people donate items even without being asked because they
support our mission, said Theiss. The Gala committee and the Oldham
County Historical Society Board of Directors also work at collecting
items for the auctions.
We go out and ask people to donate items from businesses we support,
said Gala committee chairperson Karen Eldridge. A big boost this year
was from four artists who designed pieces specifically for the
Everybody was so generous this year. This is THE biggest fundraiser
the Historical Society has, Eldridge said. She said the committee
changed the way the auction was conducted, making it more productive.
Wardlow Auctions Inc. helped with this part of the event.
The committee has already started working on next years
Gala, said Eldridge. The committee of 15 members meets every month
except for November and December. Planning the Gala is a long
Another key to the events success is that people are starting
to see how important the History Center is, Eldridge said. The
whiskey jug exhibit drew in a lot of people. Nancy does a wonderful
job of having programs that interest people differently.
Just as the Gala committee starts planning for the next years
event immediately after the Gala is over, Theiss begins well in advance
to plan exhibits and programs. Next year for our temporary exhibit
we are looking at Saving the Printed Word as an exhibit
topic, said Theiss. What will the future be like if everything
Not wanting to rest too long on their laurels, committee members and
members of the Historical Society and staff at the History Center are
always looking for opportunities to draw in more people.
Eldridge said there is a lot of room to improve in terms of people
knowing and appreciating what we have here.
For more information on the Oldham County
Historical Society or Oldham County History Center, call (502) 222-0826
or visit: www.OldhamCountyHistoricalSociety.org.
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