Oldham County Historical Society Gala

Oldham County Gala considered a success in fundraising for renovation

The Sept. 25 event was held at Ashbourne Farm

LA GRANGE, Ky. (November 2015) – The Oldham County Historical Society’s annual fundraising Gala once again exceeded organizers expectations. Boots & BBQ at Ashbourne Farms drew quite a crowd for a fun filled evening to benefit a worthy cause.
For this year’s Gala, which took place Sept. 25, the venue was donated by Ashbourne Farms. The event always has a theme, where attendees can dress the part as they enjoy supporting a local entity. This year attendees had their choice of black-tie or causal country attire.

Photo courtesy of Terri Miller

Members of Project Guild of La Grange include Sue Ballard, Mary Broecker, Shari Broecker, Becky Brown, Doreen Goodwin, Meaghan Goodwin, Jackie Hack, Holly Johnson, Teresa Kinney, Lauren Kunce, Lynn Mason, Bettie Miller, Victoria Motyka, Ann Brown Pickett, Lucy Ricketts, Melissa Walton, Paige Weeks and Diane Wheeler. The Guild was honored at the Gala.

“We use the money from the Gala for our annual operating budget,” said Nancy Stearns Theiss, executive director for the Oldham County History Center. “It provides about 20 percent of the annual operation cost.”
The Gala always contains silent and live auction items. Some of the items offered for sale by guest auctioneer, Oldham County Jailer Mike Simpson, included a guest appearance on KET’s “Tim Farmer’s Country Kitchen” and a Maker’s Mark Distillery Tour & Lunch for 10 with Bill Samuels.  
The Gala is an event that many in the community eagerly anticipate. Earnings benefit a non-profit group that provides a much needed cultural element to maintaining the county’s past and its future. The evening was topped off with a special concert performance by Tim Farmer & Cool Water.
“The Gala is successful because of the Gala Committee that works throughout the year and the annual sponsors that support the Gala tables,” said Theiss.

Photo by Don Ward

Entertainment at the recent Gala was provided by Tim Farmer’s band. Farmer has a cooking show on PBS.

Each year at the Gala, the J. Chilton Barnett Champion of Oldham County History award is presented to honor an individual (or organization) that has demonstrated a sincere interest in Oldham County history and a desire and effort to preserve that history for future generations. The 2015 recipient was the 18-member Project Guild of La Grange. Project Guild was selected because “they created Oldham County Day and celebrated 50 years of Oldham County Day in 2015, which is an important community event that draws together everyone to celebrate our history and people,” Theiss said.
In addition, Project Guild raised money for the Oldham County Courthouse landscape project and the group is sponsor of the History Center’s Living Treasures and History Hounds programs.
The Gala is normally held on the tented grounds of the Oldham County History Center. The change in venue this year was due to the fact that Ashbourne Farms offered the use of their facilities because of the current campus renovation campaign project taking place on the History Center grounds.
“There is discussion about repeating its use in the future because it was so popular,” said Theiss. “We have faithful sponsors every year and we are always adding new businesses that believe in our mission at the History Center.”
Renovation has begun at the History Center. Exterior work began on the Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum the week of Oct. 19. “A new roof, siding repairs and painting will be done to the exterior of the museum with Phase 1,” said Renovation Campaign Chairperson Terri Miller.
“Phase 1 is scheduled to be completed in December.”
Scott Schindler with Topgun Construction Co. is scheduled is begin working on the siding repairs and replacement as needed. Gene Willis will paint the circa 1840 building in an historically correct color palette. The metal roof will also be replaced.
As the exterior work is being competed, the committee is turning its attention to interior details. “Currently, we are considering what to include in our exhibits and how they should be presented,” Miller said. “Museum interior work is the next phase in the renovation project and planned for next year. This, of course, will be dependent on ongoing fundraising with the campaign.”
The new exhibits will be more representative of Oldham County history in relation to the region and beyond, said Miller. Some of the exhibits will be based on current collections the Historical Society owns that may have been previously exhibited or at least will now have the space to be properly exhibited or presented in new formats. “We are also looking to have a better flow pattern within the museum interior.”

The museum is currently closed until these repairs are completed, but scheduled programing will continue inside the Rob Morris Educational Building. This latter building and the J.C Barnett Libraries & Archives building will also undergo renovation. Landscaping expertise is being offered by Dr. Paul Cappiello, executive director of Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, for the new grounds layout.

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