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Lewelling Quaker Museum celebrating 60th anniversary

SALEM — The Lewelling Quaker Museum is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

The museum is a former Underground Railroad site. The house was purchased by five people in 1959 to be turned into a nonprofit museum in Salem. The museum will celebrate its anniversary during their annual tea on April 28.

The tea will be attended by two great-great-grandsons of Henderson Lewelling, who are traveling from Oregon to be a part of the program. More information will become available closer to the event.

Dave Helman, president of the Lewelling Quaker Museum board of directors, presented the museum’s annual report during a Salem City Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 8. Helman said that the museum is in good financial standing and they are getting a lot of nationwide attention now that they are a part of the National Park Service Network.

Volunteer guides conducted 138 tours in 2018 to 855 visitors, 300 of which were students who visited on school field trips and as a part of their school curriculum.

“This is nearly 100 more visitors than in 2017,” Helman said.

Revenue from visitors has increased significantly over the past two years after the museum switched from charging admission of $2 for adults and $1 for children to asking for a free-will donation. Now, the museum is getting donations of $5s, $10s, and $20s, Helman said.

“We’re in good financial standing. We don’t need any help,” Helman said.

Museum partnerships also increased from 113 in 2017 to 127 in 2018. The museum’s partners contribute $20 or more to the annual January partnership fund, Helman said. Contributions are used for maintenance, utilities, improvements and programs, with contributions of $100 or more invested in the capital fund.

Last year, some work was done to the museum including replacing all 19 pairs of historic shutters, chip and seal pavement of the driveway and walkway, joining the driveway to the walkway to for ADA compliance, and clearing old railway ties that had become rotten and were a safety hazard.

The company, Shuttercraft Inc., out of Connecticut, did the work to replace the historic shutters. They put out a calendar every year with photos of their favorite projects, and the Lewelling Quaker Museum is featured in July 2019.

The museum is open Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. or by appointment by calling 319-258-2000.