MUSCATINE, Iowa – The Musser McColm home, a featured part of the Muscatine Art Center, has been placed on the National Register of History Places according to Melanie Alexander, Muscatine Art Center director.
“The property is locally significant, and the nomination process provided the opportunity to further research the buildings, grounds, family, and architect,” Alexander said.
The announcement comes at the start of National Historic Preservation Month which is held annually during the month of May. One of the goals during the month is to recognize the contributions that individuals and organizations have made in preserving historic places and the stories in which they tell.
The Friends of Muscatine Art Center hosted an event last Thursday (Apr. 27) as the Musser home was reopened following a $1.5 million renovation of the Art Center complex. A public Reopening Celebration will be held from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 1, with a ribbon cutting for the new “Learn to Look” gallery slated for 3:30 p.m. Several new exhibits and installations will be featured along with new interactives including touchscreen computers and videos.
The Friends of Muscatine Historic Preservation and the Musser Public Library will present the “History of Huttig Manufacturing” starting at 2 p.m. Sunday (May 7) at the Art Center prior to the presentation the recognition awards. The event is free to the public.
The Muscatine Art Center began the process to list the Laura Musser McColm property at 1314 Mulberry Avenue on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014 and the State Historic Preservation Office determined that the property was eligible for listing in the spring of 2015. The Muscatine Art Center was awarded a Historic Resource Development (HRDP) Grant from the State Historical Society of Iowa to contract with a consultant to complete the National Register nomination.
The nomination for the “Laura Musser McColm Historic District” was completed by Jennifer Price of Price Preservation Research in Coralville, Iowa.
The 1908 historic home, historic carriage house dating to the 1920s, and the historic Japanese Garden installed in 1929 are contributing features listed within the nomination. The nomination includes descriptions of the historic architecture and features, biographic information about the family and the architect, quotes and descriptions from source materials such as the local newspaper and other archives, and historic photographs.
The nomination can be viewed at the Muscatine Art Center.
“The staff plans to develop a ‘Teaching with Historic Places’ lesson plan for the property,” Alexander said. “The process for completing the lesson plan can be lengthy, but once it is complete and accepted at the national level, it will be available on the National Park Services website.”
In the meantime, the Muscatine Art Center staff is working to make information, photographs, and archival materials available and formatted for use by students studying local history.
The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Thursday evenings until 7 p.m., and from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated.
Visit www.muscatineartcenter.org for more information about programs and events, and to download a class brochure.