LEXINGTON — Work continues on completing the Dawson County Historical Museum’s, “Main Street,” display, as two new rooms have been completed.
The Loop, as it is called by Director Crystal Werger, was an idea envisioned by the DCHM to incorporate part of the original museum into a display space which would fully circle the inner offices and storage space. Until a few years ago, displays only extended to a certain point in the museum.
Now after a number of improvements, the loop is taking shape and visitors can fully circle the building seeing new displays. Part of this loop is a section which has been dubbed, “Main Street.”
Partitions were built to simulate rooms, artifacts and furniture in these rooms reflect a certain time period, or business. There have been two recent additions for past or new visitors to view.
The first of these represents the several different types of medicine practiced in Dawson County, including a family doctor, optometrists, dentist, etc., Werger said. The display also features several of Dr. Ray Wycoff’s items, a prominent doctor in Lexington’s past.
People can get a feel for how medicine was practiced in the early 1900s and how it would have been to visit the town doctor, or how a home visit would have looked.
There will be little mistaking what type of business the second new room represents, with its pink walls, combs, scissors and mirrors.
To make this beauty salon room, Exhibit Designer Cheri Bergman and Werger meticulously researched all of the different beauty shops which were in Lexington, there were many to go through, Werger said.
Werger said she was surprised by just how many different beauty shops there were in Lexington at one time, she said there could have been five in one block and they moved locations often.
Another fact which stood out to Werger was that many women would have their hair done only once a week, as many could not afford to go in multiple days. Many would have their hair done on a Friday, make it look good for a night out Saturday, church on Sunday and then repeat the process again the next week.
One of the first hair dressing salons in Lexington was operated by Clara Krier Robb out of the Cornland Hotel in the early 1900s. According to a newspaper clipping, “Most ladies of the town would indulge in this luxury once a year.”
Research also had to be done on all the different artifacts which were going to be displayed in the room, in order to provide people with accurate information on what they are looking at.
Several items which were donated recently came from a former beauty shop in Gothenburg, Werger said. The top of the room is also lined with pictures of different hair styles, from the dour look of the early 1900s, to the extravagance of the 1980s and all the way to today’s present styles.
A new display which is coming to the Loop area is focused on Plectron. Founded in Overton and later to become a company known worldwide, Plectron specialized in a VHF/UHF single-channel emergency receiver, used to activate emergency personal and disaster warning systems.
Founded in 1955 Plectron manufactured thousands of these types of radios and found their place in the homes of first responders all across the United States. The company was founded by Arlyn Collins and Keith Wycoff.
Before entering electronics, Plectron was involved in plastics, and this remained a part of their business as they manufactured face shields for fire helmets.
Plectron receiver’s main feature, distinguishing it from a regular squelched radio was its selective de-squelching. In other words, it would only sound was a correct pair of tones was broadcast, allowing several agencies with different tones to share the same frequency.
Plectron moved operations to Lexington in the 1980s and terminated operations in 1996.
Werger said she is in the process of sorting through all the different types of equipment Plectron made. She plans to sort the equipment into the different decades in which they were manufactured and present information in a large book about each item.
She said she has been fortunate to speak with many people who worked at Plectron over the years and they have been able to provide a wealth of information about the Plectron items at the museum. The display is planned to be fully completed by January 2020, said Werger.