Marilynn Wright, chair of the Baumgartner Museum, stands with some of the items that will be for sale at its Christmas open house on Sunday, Dec. 3.

Marilynn Wright, chair of the Baumgartner Museum, stands with some of the items that will be for sale at its Christmas open house on Sunday, Dec. 3.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

Baumgartner Museum reopens in time for the holidays

By: Brendan Losinski | Fraser-Clinton Chronicle | Published November 10, 2023


FRASER — The Baumgartner House Museum in Fraser is once again open to the public, just in time for the holiday season.

Although the depot building remained open for the summer and fall, the museum has been closed for most of 2023 due to damage to the interior.

“In December of last year, we had a problem with five radiators busting and water going all through the house,” said Marilynn Wright, chair of the Baumgartner Museum. “Then in July, we had another problem with four or five inches of rain going all through the house from the big rainstorm we had. We had a lot of problems we needed to address in terms of refurbishing and getting new radiators.”

“We lost heat in the coldest week of December,” added Fraser Historical Commission member Jim Chamberlin. “We had a company come in to clean and insurance paid for it all. We still had to organize everything and see what we could keep and what we couldn’t.”

A burst pipe meant there was significant water damage to the museum.

“Deccember 24 was the coldest day of the year last year. We were packing up all of the Christmas decorations and things from our Christmas sale,” Wright said. “Then we lost the radiators so there was no heat inside the museum. Pipes burst so water was everywhere from the top floor to the bottom floor to the basement. It was pouring down through the chandeliers.”

Repairs and refurbishments took months.

“We finally got new radiators from Texas, where we had to order them from. We had a lot of problems in the basement where things got wet. We had to throw a lot of things out,” said Wright. “We got the rug cleaned because it was moldy. It was just one thing after another.”

The museum administrators worked hard to keep the museum and depot active even while most operations had to be suspended.

“We had a barn sale at the start of October, but we had to keep the museum closed while everything was being refurbished,” Wright said. “Now we can open again for the holiday season. We can give tours again.”

The museum will have an upcoming open house to show off the repairs and offer some holiday season fun.

“We’ll have an open house from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3,” said Wright. “Santa will be here. People can bring cameras for pictures. We will have cookies that are being donated and we will be serving hot chocolate. Plus, we will have our Christmas sale with lots of festive decorations and so forth people can buy.”

Chamberlin said that the event will be a fantastic way for local residents to jump into the holidays.

“We’re having the big sale and Santa, the house will be decorated for Christmas, we’ll have our Christmas trees out,” he said. “We think it’s a great way to get in the Christmas spirit.”

Wright said that they were hoping to be able to get the public back into the museum before the end of the year since they close down operations for two months each year.

“We close every year for January and February because you have the end of the football season and we don’t like people tracking snow into the museum, and people aren’t interested in going to a museum in two feet of snow,” she said. “We’ll once again be having our open houses on the first weekend of the month starting again in March.”