Mason historical society faces challenges

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Since Mason’s founding in 1836, there have been many families that have come and gone through the city’s streets and houses. Along with the people come their possessions. As the citizens of Mason pass, what do the families do with their old possessions? Much of the family records, photographs and antiques go to the historical society.

The Mason Area Historical Society was officially established in 1998 but in 1976, the town rallied to save a piece of Mason history: The Pink School. This became the town’s bicentennial project and the townspeople set out to raise money to move the school. The effort was successful and it now sits at 707 W. Ash St.

This effort united many women and they decided to create a historical society for another fundraising effort in 1998. They bought an old church and transformed it into the museum that is there today. There are 12 board members that oversee different areas; whether it’s clipping articles for files, changing display cases or keeping the place organized.

Volunteer Sandy Perry has been with the society for 10 years. Technology is one of the hardest things she says that they’ve had to deal with, along with the lack of publicity. When the Ingham County News went out of business, the society had to turn to the internet.

Another adversity the society is having to overcome is the lack of volunteers. Perry said that with the times changing, the need for people to help has increased tremendously. Many of the current volunteers are working extra hours and coming in more frequently to help change out displays, set up for events and gather records.

To help with various costs, the Mason Area Historical Society has published three books. A children’s book about the pink schoolhouse, a compilation of WWII veterans’ stories and a History of Mason book help the society raise money, as it is a non-profit. The three books can be purchased at the society’s website.

The group will have a meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 with guest speaker Riley Philip from the Michigan Women’s Historical Society. For more events and information, go to their website.

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