Become an FCHS Member!

2023 was an exciting year for the Franklin County Historical Society, and this would not have been possible without the support of our local history enthusiasts! You supported us financially, volunteered hundreds of hours, attended our events, visited our exhibits, and shared our social media posts with friends and family. You are proof that the Franklin County Historical Society is more than a museum or a collection of artifacts; FCHS is truly a community of people interested in preserving and sharing history.

Here are some of the amazing things you helped make happen at FCHS in 2023:

  • 3,458 visitors toured the Old Depot Museum. This is the museum’s highest annual attendance in nearly
    A woman holds a sign that says "We (heart) Humanities." She stands next to an audience.
    WE LOVE HUMANITIES: Speaker Erin Pouppirt stands with the crowd gathered to hear her presentation on Vice President Charles Curtis.

    two decades!

  • 1,100 attended FCHS programs. You joined us in person, and you joined us online. Thanks to Zoom and Facebook live, our programs are now more accessible and ever, and our audience has expanded beyond the boundaries of Franklin County.
  • 1,000 people visited the Smithsonian Exhibit. Exactly one thousand people toured Voices and Votes: Democracy in America in just six weeks—a 423% increase over our regular museum attendance during the same period in the previous year.
  • 45 volunteers and 3 community groups gave us a hand. In 2023, volunteers contributed more than 600 hours of their time, helping us with everything from moving artifacts, cleaning out flowerbeds, coordinating our fundraising events, serving as museum docents, teaching in the one-room school, and helping document and organize research materials at the Archives & Research Center.
  • 332 people came to our fundraisers. You walked or ran 5 kilometers on a cold April morning and toured
    Image of two auditorium chairs in center. Franklin County Historical Society Logo. Text: New in 2023: Artifacts Highlights.
    Click on the image to download this year’s new artifacts highlights here.

    the 1899 Reid-Duderstadt House on a hot June day!

  • The east side of the Old Depot Museum roof is repaired. Thanks in part to a grant from the Heritage Trust Fund, the roof and gutters on the east side of our 1888 historic depot are finally repaired. In addition, DACA Construction donated materials and labor to install bracing under the dormers of the west side to support them as we seek additional funding to finish repairs.
  • You donated artifacts to expand the history of Franklin County. In 2023, you entrusted more than 1,000 objects, photographs, and archival materials to the Franklin County Historical Society to preserve them for future generations. Check out the included booklet highlighting 2023 artifacts to learn more.
  • Your membership dollars made a difference! In 2023, 122 members contributed $8,635—enough to pay a year’s worth of water and electricity bills at the Old Depot Museum.

Here’s what we’re excited about in 2024:

  • New exhibits! Love pictures of college students being college students? Check out The Photographs of Luke
    Students explore a museum exhibit.
    Ottawa High School students tour Voices and Votes: Democracy in America, a traveling Smithsonian exhibit.

    Hoffman, University Student, on display at the Old Depot Museum now through August 2024. We’re also working on an exhibit about Civil Defense and the citizens who sat on Franklin County hills, watching for enemy planes—only to discover that watching for tornadoes was even more useful.

  • New programs! Many of our programs are offered online as well as in person.
  • Fun fundraisers! Our second annual 5K Run/Walk for History will be Saturday, April 6! More information will be available soon.

Our greatest challenge in 2024 is increased operational expenses. During the past five years, the cost of our utilities have increased by $3,000, our insurance has increased by $2,000, and the cost of everything from cleaning supplies to archival storage materials has increased dramatically.

We need your help more than ever. Here are ways you can help FCHS continue its mission to preserve, present, and promote the history of Franklin County:

  • Renew your membership. Consider increasing your membership level or adding an additional donation to your membership this year.
  • Volunteer your time and talents. Opportunities in 2024 include:
  • Data compilation: Help us make our historic records more accessible by correcting/updating records and creating finding aids and indexes.
  • Gardening: Love playing in the dirt? The perennial flower beds at the Old Depot Museum may be calling your name.
  • School programs: Are you a retired or retiring teacher or just enjoy working with kids? Get involved with our One-Room School or “How Things Change” programs.
  • Connect with us. Join us online (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Threads), visit our museums, and come to our programs. We love opportunities to share and discuss history!
  • Invite your family and friends! We love seeing new faces at the museum and our programs!

Thank you again for supporting the Franklin County Historical Society and sharing our joy in discovering local history!


Here are a few things you get for supporting FCHS.

In addition to feeling great about supporting the kinds of programs and exhibits mentioned above, members receive

  • 10% off at the Old Depot Museum Store
  • Our newsletter, full of history, updates, and games
  • Coupons for free or discounted tickets to special events and programs
  • 4 free digital photo scans from our collection
  • Did we mention the warm fuzzies for supporting a great organization?

Membership Levels:

Student Level $10.00
Individual Level $25.00
Family Level $45.00
1937 Level $75.00
A.P. Elder Level $125.00
Cabin 150th Level $150.00
Ben Park Level $250.00
Jacob Dietrich Level $500.00
Trainmaster Level $1,000.00
Isaac Kalloch Level $5,000.00

Becoming a new member or renewing your existing membership is as easy!

Just pick your preferred membership level below and click on Pay Now.


Questions? Call (785) 242-1232 or email Chuck Tilman.


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