Close this search box.

A Centennial Celebration 

Covered Wagon at Boone County History & Culture Center Exhibit

Boone County Historical Society bridges the past with the present.

Since its founding in 1924, the Boone County Historical Society (BCHS) has been dedicated to safeguarding the area’s history. Through its museum, the Boone County History and Culture Center, the society proudly claims to have preserved more than 22,000 historic artifacts, 516,000 photographic negatives of the community’s people and places, 2,000 historic garments, and more than 1,000 works of art.  

The society has also undergone substantial changes over the years, such as acquiring a physical headquarters and museum location, rebranding itself to focus more on the cultural aspect of the museum, and implementing additions like the Montminy Art Gallery and the Village at Boone Junction. 

In what feels like the blink of an eye, BCHS has witnessed its 100th birthday — and the board and staff are eagerly preparing to celebrate that important milestone with the public. Board Vice President David Wilson says an array of events and activities are coming soon to the Boone County History and Culture Center. 

Centennial History and Art Exhibits 

“We have one upcoming exhibit that looks back at the last 100 years of the society and will include 100 significant items over the community’s 200-year history,” Wilson adds.

Although the BCHS has existed for 100 years, the foundation of Boone County itself dates to the early 19th century. Wilson, along with Executive Director Chris Campbell and others, agree that selecting artifacts solely from 1924 onwards would be challenging. Therefore, the Centennial History Exhibit aims to bridge the older history of Boone County with the more recent history of BCHS. 

In preparation for the Centennial History Exhibit, a committee of individuals with varying expertise has compiled a list of BCHS’s most treasured artifacts to be selected from the collection vaults. Some of the rare and often unseen artifacts that will be on display include: 

  • John William “Blind” Boone’s gold watch, complete with diamonds — and believed to have been bought for $1,000 in 1900. 
  • Union general and prominent Columbian Odon Guitar’s brigadier general overcoat and dress sword. 
  • Actress and singer Jane Froman’s fur coat and leg braces. 
  • Two letters written on White House stationery, one by Calvin Coolidge and the other by Teddy Roosevelt. 
  • A 1925 Model T Ford and an authentic 1880s covered wagon. 

This exhibit opened April 10, 2024, and will run through January 2025. 

Additionally, the Centennial Art Exhibit, titled “Over Time — 100 Years of Art Scene/Seen in Boone County,” will feature several loaned artworks from supportive community members. It will be open from June 22, 2024, to September 2, 2024. 

Popsicle Fest  

“Another large event we’re doing,” Wilson says, “is called ‘Popsicle Fest.’ This will be a free, family and kids-focused festival on the property and in the park, including games, music, events, and food.” The event will be held on July 13th.

Paying homage to the popsicle (which also celebrates its 100th birthday in 2024), this event encourages families and children to connect with the rich history around them through exhibits and demonstrations. (And each guest will receive a free popsicle.) 


Wilson has also been working closely on “Boone-anza!,” a massive treasure hunt that will lead teams around Boone County and culminate, thanks to event sponsor Buchroeders Jewelry, in a literal treasure with more than $25,000 in precious diamonds and gems.  

The puzzle-solving event is singular in the history of Boone County and serves to generate community engagement in a fun and competitive way, testing contestants on their knowledge of Boone County trivia. Updates for the event will be on the Boone County History and Culture website and its social media, with registration open following Popsicle Fest.

A Great Big ‘Thank You’  

The Boone County Historical Society expresses its gratitude for the support it has received over its 100 years of existence. Besides the annual grants provided by the Boone County Commission, most of its income comes from local visitors through donations, memberships, and earned income. 

“We rely on the generosity and support of our community,” Campbell explains. “We’re constantly concerned about sourcing that revenue because it’s not always guaranteed.” 

He envisions a future where the BCHS and Boone County History and Culture Center will have reserves to sustain them through challenging times and enable them to expand their physical footprint to accommodate more collection storage space. 

In the meantime, there are several ways to support the mission of the BCHS and museum, including volunteer opportunities, becoming a member, and making tax-deductible donations.

July 1924
18 local historians, educators, and businessmen met over lunch at the Daniel Boone Hotel & Tavern to institute the Boone County Historical Society.  

January 1963
The BCHS applied for and gained non-profit status with the IRS and The Federal Government. 

December 1969
The BCHS gained access to the Maplewood House (also known as the Lenoir home) through the city’s purchase of the Frank G. Nifong Memorial Park and used it as its first official headquarters. 

July 1990
Raul Walters, a real-estate developer, provided a $100,000 check to help initiate construction on the museum. The original name of the museum commemorated him and his family as the “Walters-Boone County Historical Museum.”

April 1993
American artist Tracy Montminy left an endowment to the BCHS to create a new gallery which led to the addition of the Montminy Gallery. 

September 2017
The Walters-Boone County Historical Museum became the Boone County History and Culture Center.  

Boone County History & Culture Center
3801 Ponderosa St

Subscribe to our newsletter

Don’t miss the most interesting places to go, events to attend, restaurants to try, and ideas for living the best COMO lifestyle.

Popular Stories