The Annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet was held on January 28, 2016. The Prague Historical Society was chosen by the chamber to be the Pride of Prague.following article was written and presented by Rev. Derrek Belase.
“Each of us stands on the shoulders of those who have come before us. We are a product of our heritage and in this day of rapid change, what could be more important than preserving and displaying our heritage for those who come after us.
27 years ago, 537 individuals, businesses and organizations banded together for a common cause-the creation of the Prague Historical Society and associated museum. The museum opened in September 1989 and began accepting donations.
One of the most generous donations came from the Jim Parks family who let the museum use their old funeral home building for the next 27 years. How fitting it is tonight that we are honoring the museum volunteers on the same night Jim Parks himself is given the chamber’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his long service and commitment to our community.
The backbone of the museum has always been the volunteer docents, officers and board of directors. Community groups like Beta Sigma Phi helped in tremendous ways throughout the years and of course, the community support of the museum is what makes it the place it is today.
Through the years, the museum has served as a repository for anything related to Prague and the Czech heritage which runs so deep in this place.
In 1995, a granite marker was erected on the museum property honoring Jim Thorpe who was born south of Prague. Two years before Prague’s centennial celebration in 2002, Norma Foreman and Louise Kuebeck coordinated the development of the history book Prague, the First One Hundred Years.
Just over two years ago, the museum received its largest gift to date from the estate of Joi Dell Herd. This generous gift allowed the museum to purchase their own building at 815 N Jim Thorpe Boulevard and relocate thousands of artifacts to a larger more spacious location.
In the Prague history book, Peggy Bartosh wrote, “The faithfulness of our patrons to entrust their history to us for safekeeping is a great privilege and responsibility. The unsung heroes are our volunteers who weekly give of themselves to the task of maintaining the museum facilities and the collection.”
Those are the people we are here to honor tonight. The ladies who keep the doors open, the memberships’ logged, the bookstore stocked, the artifacts cataloged and the building clean. More importantly, though, these are the people who answer the questions of guests and keep the story of Prague alive in the hearts of those who hear it.” ….
President Diana Kinzey was unable to be at the banquet because she was out of the country in Costa Rica as a Volunteers-in-Mission trip with the United Methodist Church. Diana said in a letter, “On behalf of the volunteers, officers and board of the Prague Historical Museum, I want to thank you for this honor”.
Norma Foreman-often called the mother of the museum-accepted the Pride of Prague Award on behalf of all the volunteers who keep the Prague Historical Museum and story of our community alive and well.
A list of current docents and board members: President Dianna Kinzey, Norma Foreman, Lena Pruett, Delores Bradley, Petra Hebert, Paula Bartosh, Wanda Carlson, Donna Prevett, current Board Members, Roger Pritchett, Roy Prevett, Jerry Opela, Dan Sealock, Derrek Belase and treasurer Doyle Fouquet.
Some names that will appear in the annals of the Prague museum are:
Neoma Bateson, Louise Kubecek, Leontine Klabzuba, Lawrence & Loraine Sykora, Howard Tope, Juanita Kelton, Bob Teape, Speedy Morrison, Jim & Ruby Teague, Doris Novotny, Roger Pritchett, Peggy Bartosh, Dale Bugg, James Hargrove, Jerry Opela, Diana Kinzey, and Norma Foreman, and so many others.
The Prague Historical Museum is sustained by contributions. Members receive two newsletters annually.
$25 Family (children 18 and under)
$100 or more Sustaining
Meetings are held the forth Monday of each month at 4 P.M.
Museum Gift Shop
- Books on Jim Thorpe,
- Czech memorabilia plus Czech Dolls
- Jim Thorpe and Prague Historical museum “tee shirts”
- Post Cards
- Early Day Prints
- Czech Cookbooks
- Children’s Czech paper dolls, coloring books, etc.
The Museum has an extensive collection of artifacts and documents which tell the history of the Prague area from the Land Run in 1891 to the present day. Prague became an instant town in 1902 and the Fort Smith and Western Railroad’s first train pulled into Prague in 1903. The collection includes exhibits of Czech heritage, Olinka Hrdy art, Jim Thorpe photos and history, early businesses, the Kolache Festival, military room and many additional items of interest.
Our “Hands-On” binders invite the visitor to read and view copies of photos and articles that relate to the Prague area including information on schools, cemeteries and adjoining towns.
The first temporary exhibit for 2008 at the Museum is an oil and vinegar cruet collection. This exhibit features 75 cruets with one dating from the late 1800’s. Three of the cruets are prior to 1890 and are changing colors to amethyst and amber, as older glassware does. This cruet exhibit will be on display for several weeks.
The new order of history books “Prague, The First 100 Years” is on sale at the museum. The price is $65 plus tax.
Support the Prague Historical Museum
Your Support WILL HELP US REACH OUR GOAL OF COLLECTING AND PRESERVING PRAGUE’S HISTORY.