By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield Historic Preservation Association opened its “Lest We Forget” museum in the basement level of the Marshfield Public Library on Nov. 19.
The museum commemorates those that have served in the armed forces, in particular individuals from the Marshfield area, and depicts scenes from numerous wars throughout history. The museum was previously on display on the lower level of the Thomas House Restaurant in Marshfield before moving to the new library location.
The museum spans about 800 square feet and is filled with photographs, stories, and other artifacts from past wars. Museum Project Manager Shirley Mook said that the community has been very supportive and helpful in relocating the museum and helping supply it with materials.
She said that many of the artifacts or stories on display at “Lest We Forget” were contributed by community members.
“People just bring them to us. They volunteer it,” Mook said. “It’s a word of mouth, community-type thing.”
Dakota Electric Services of Marshfield donated all of the labor to do the lighting and wiring work for the museum at no cost. Mook added that a couple of large donations have also helped the museum become what it is today.
Admission to the museum is free.
“We don’t want to discourage anyone from coming through here. This is for the public. This is for citizens to see,” said Mook.
Mook said that the process of putting together the military museum has been an amazing experience.
“It has been a grand adventure, let me tell you. I have met so many wonderful people. Veterans tell you their stories. It’s incredible,” she said.
The purpose of the exhibit, Mook said, is to make sure people understand, remember, and recognize the sacrifices veterans throughout history have made to protect America.
“The reason it’s here—and the reason we did this—is so people would not forget,” Mook said. “We don’t want people to forget because these men, many of them gave their lives. Many of them came back wounded, but they all fought for our freedoms.
“We cannot let that pass by. We have to remember that. We have to talk to our children, our grandchildren. That’s why we’re here,” Mook said.
In the future Mook hopes to use an adjacent room in the library basement as a space for additional exhibits. If they do gain access to the additional room, some of Mook’s ideas for exhibits include doing a display about J.P. Adler and the Adler family and models of the city of Marshfield before and after the great fire of 1887. The overall vision for that space, Mook said, is to create a “community museum depicting the history of Marshfield.”
Previous exhibits done by the Historic Preservation Association at the Thomas House location have included The Great Depression and the Great Marshfield Fire.
“Lest We Forget” is located at the lower level of the Marshfield Public Library at 211 E. Second St. Hours for the exhibit are 1-4 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.