Dashing ahead with historical society plans

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Greg Peck
June 13, 2013

Michael Reuter wants to get Rock County residents past the notion that nothing new happens at the historic Lincoln-Tallman House in Janesville. He has talked to too many people who suggest, “Well, I toured it in grade school; why should I go see it again?”

The executive director of the Rock County Historical Society has scheduled events this year designed to dispel the impression of a staid organization. He hopes that translates into more members, volunteers and donors.

Then, instead of welcoming tour-goers with guides dressed in 21st-century attire, Reuter wants period costumes and discussions. He would tap local performing arts groups for character actors depicting historical figures, perhaps on special weekends the first year. If things go right, costumed interpreters would become more and more frequent so that within five or 10 years, the Lincoln-Tallman campus evolves into a living history museum much like Old World Wisconsin in nearby Eagle.

It all starts this weekend with a fun run featuring Abe attire in what’s being billed the “largest collection of Lincolns north of Springfield, Ill.” The 3:30 p.m. run is a high-profile way to unveil the society’s “Breadbasket: Seed to Spoon” exhibit. Instead of a static museum display, it will engage and enlighten with interactive features to immerse viewers in Rock County’s long history with the food chain.

We’ll share our perspectives on Reuter’s plans in our editorial Friday.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

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