Behind the Scenes at the GMD, April 27, 2020

Posted on Monday, April 27, 2020

Several weeks have gone by and staff continue to limit their time spent at the Museum, while finding creative ways to work safely from home. The Grout Board successfully held its first Zoom board meeting--we would never have dreamed of doing this a year ago; now it is a regular occurrence for many of us.

Many probably heard in the news that the PPP loan fund ran out of money last week. Diane Popelka's diligence and support from Community Bank means that the Grout's loan was approved. The funds should arrive at the bank soon.  

Grout staff members continue to find creative ways to fulfill the Museum's mission and maintain a presence in the community. Each day of the week there is a new video or photo featured on the Grout's Facebook page and on other social media accounts. Discussions about these in-house creations and Voices of Iowa video spotlights have resulted in branching out to other organizations (schools, Silos & Smokestacks, etc-) to broaden awareness and access to the Grout and its resources.

Development staff members Pat Kinney and Sara Nefzger continue to research, write, submit grants and continue making calls to donors to let them know what the Grout is doing and to secure their financial support, when possible. 

The Museum has also been discussing the Sullivan Brothers Outstanding Military Family Award and the Van G. Miller Memorial Award for Outstanding Support for Our Armed Forces. These have traditionally been presented at the annual gala, but with so much uncertainty about when things will open and when people will be comfortable gathering again, we are exploring options.  

Exhibits staff Al Sweeney, William Bisbee and Jenny Bowser have been making improvements to both the Imaginarium and the Grout and are busy conducting research for upcoming exhibits. 

The Korean War exhibit has been modified to open up the area where the Faces Of The Fallen kiosk is located. It's not finished, but a photo of the progress is posted below. Exhibit staff hope to make this area more accessible and visible for all visitors.

Marketing partners, Townsquare Media have been promoting the Grout's social media videos.

Luanne Puhl has been working with the FGHH board on several projects. With the concrete redone at the Snowden House, work on the improvements to the back entrance will start again. Painting bids are still being solicited for both the Russell and Snowden Houses. Marcea Seible is working with Museum staff on a grant for this project.

See below for a behind the scenes glimpse of a few GMD staff members working on various projects:

Catreva Manning is scanning photos for the next Way Back Wednesday social media posts, while Shanna McNamee is working on updating the Grout's telescope rental information so they will be ready to go as the weather improves.


Al Sweeney is hanging WWI posters along the ramp that leads into the WWI exhibit area.  

William Bisbee is working on the "square wheel" exhibit produced by several Big Brothers Big Sisters participants at Cedar Valley Makers. The project was funded by the Otto Schoitz Foundation. A video about the project featuring the square wheel in action is in the works.

Collin Heidemann is getting ready to ship out a couple of gift shop purchases. Did you know that our online store is still open (with free shipping?) You can shop with us here.

Sam McCombs is busy working on editing the videos you see on our various social media accounts, YouTube and here on our website, while Jacquie Persson manages the District's social media accounts, posting content for the public.


Keep an eye out for another update in two weeks! Stay health and safe, friends!