Archived Story

Editorial: Bittersweet choice in Mower County

Published 10:45am Tuesday, October 29, 2013

While it may seem bittersweet to say goodbye to the Herald J. Williams American Indian Collection, we applaud the Mower County Historical Society for taking the initiative in securing more Mower County history under a tight budget.

The collection has been a large part of the historical society, as the Williams family first donated thousands of items to Mower County in 1969. For more than 40 years, residents have been able to look at arrowheads and other Native American items, as well as extensive rock and mineral collections from all over the world. Some items are from Asia, others from Mexico.

Yet Executive Director Dustin Heckman brought up a good point when he told the Mower County Board of Commissioners Oct. 22 that the collection, a worldly amount of treasures and a significant addition to the historical society, wasn’t focused enough on Mower County’s history.

In light of the current budget constraints many nonprofits and government entities face, it makes sense to remove the collection in order to store more Mower County-oriented items of historical worth. We do not deny we will be sad to see such a great collection go, but the alternatives — a new building for historical items, for example — are likely not in the public’s best interest, nor a necessity for public tax dollars when more pressing programs could use funding.

We appreciate the historical society’s foresight on the matter, and its willingness to sacrifice such a collection for the greater good of Mower County’s historical records. The historical society made the right move and should be commended for doing so. Those who are also sad to see this collection go would do well to donate to the historical society, to allow them to keep further items of importance as they add to Mower County’s collection.

— Austin Daily Herald, Oct. 24