Updated museum debuts in Covington

COVINGTON — Visitors to the Covington-Newberry Historical Society Museum will find that the walls and lights aren’t the only thing that’s been updated over the last six months.

“When we went through and were cleaning, we found quite a few gems that were hidden away,” Covington-Newberry Historical Society president Richard Rice said. “We basically tried to put everything together and unclutter and straighten up. We redid everything and we tried to get everything Covington-oriented downstairs, so that the elderly or handicapped can come in and enjoy what we have to offer.”

While cleaning up the museum, Rice and other board members found items like the Joe Thompson music store sign, a calf-skin drum head, several pictures that weren’t on display, and several small items that went with displays that were already in the museum. These items were combined with the displays in the museum so that visitors would be able to see everything and get a fuller, richer perspective of the history in Covington.

“Each display tells a story now, instead of having so much mismatched throughout the whole place. Everything is together, so it’s more organized and easier for people to come in without a tour guide. You really don’t have to ask a lot of questions, you can spend as much time in here as you want,” board member Kathy Miller said.

The museum officially reopened Memorial Day weekend and featured military displays that are still on display in the museum. Rice said that they have plenty of items and displays that they don’t have space to put out yet, but they plan on rotating them throughout the year. In the short time that the museum has been reopened to the community, there has been plenty of positive feedback from visitors.

“To hear people come in and say, ‘what a difference,’ and some people haven’t been in here for years, so they remember what it used to be like. They come in and they can’t believe everything that’s on display now, because it didn’t used to be this way,” secretary/treasurer Kay McKinney said. “They’re so appreciative. We’ve got a great history here, and they’re glad to see it. It’s generating more interest.”

Updating the interior and displays and reopening is just the first step; the museum will partner with the J.R. Clarke Public Library on programming and events when the remodeling of the library is complete, and they are working on partnering with the Covington School District on offering educational programs and projects to students.

“Our goal is to preserve our history and to tell it, and let people know that there’s a lot of history in our community, and we just want everyone to know where this town came, what it was like in the early years, and how it’s progressed or digressed, whichever,” Rice said. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but in the end, it’s worth it.”

Part of that preservation comes in the form of one of the historical society’s fundraisers for the museum. This year, the historical society will be providing a limited number of Christmas ornaments commemorating the history of Joe Thompson, Jerry Shields and Rogers company making drums in Covington at a suggested donation of $15. The historical society hopes to continue this fundraiser and honor the memory of a person or event that holds significance in the history of Covington.

The Covington-Newberry Historical Society Museum is open the first and third Sunday of the month from 2 to 5 p.m., and the second and fourth Wednesday of the month from 5 to 7 p.m. The museum is also open during special occasions and by appointment. Additionally, the historical society is active on Facebook with the group Covington Ohio — Yesterday and Today, and their Facebook page, Covington-Newberry Historical Society.