Dear Patrons, It has been an unprecedented time in the museum world. Know that we have been praying for your health. We have friends in the world who have battled or are battling this virus, and other friends who have lost family members unrelated to the virus, or have suffered other health crises during this frightening time. Some of you have been furloughed from employment or separated from your loved ones. We are holding all of you close, and you fill our prayers. In trying to figure out how to do the best we can for all of you, we have continued to make this the best site we can, while respecting the rules of isolation. I have set up a museum office in my home, and we have utilized technology to meet and plan. Many of you have continued to mail us incredible archives for the collection. Today we received an accession from Donna Smith of Tulsa, Oklahoma, of an early Walther League giant panoramic photograph, and a photo related to—or of—the Breckinridge, OK, Lutheran Church—located 7 miles east of Enid. According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, when the Cherokee Outlet opened to settlement in September 1893, wheat farmers occupied the area around the future town. Many of the names of those farmers are familiar to our Perry County, Missouri, descendants. Later called Immanuel Lutheran Church, the Breckinridge group constructed a building in 1901, and maintained a private school at least through the 1940s. Donna’s grandfather, Martin Gerdes, was a teacher at the church school from 1924-1944. He then moved to Farmer’s Retreat, Indiana, and taught those Lutheran farming family children until 1959. He is pictured on the first row, third from the left. I think this is an incredible photograph. It was taken either by a photographer from, or it was actually in Perry, OK, at a large gathering. If any of you recognize the photo, please leave us a comment. Personally, I find the Oklahoma out-migration interesting, because I was raised in the Cherokee Strip region—on the KS-OK border.
Please know that we are planning great things for the reopening as far as the ‘appearance’ and interpretation of our interior museum goes. This reopening, when we are given the state and local green light, will likely not happen with a large group party, but rather a humble unlocking of the doors, to allow all of you-our beloved patrons and friends-access to your site in beautiful Altenburg. Please get your rest, follow the rules of isolation/hand washing/and social distance if you must get out and about, so that we might figure out this plague that has hit our world, and go about the business of interpreting our mission here in East Perry County. May God keep you until then, Carla