The Parmer County Pioneer Heritage Museum
The Union Congregational Church was Friona’s first. The original wooden structure was dedicated in 1909, and burned in 1921. The subsequent adobe structure constructed after the fire endures today as the Parmer County Pioneer Heritage Museum. The church’s conversion into a museum began in the 1970’s when a local women’s group endeavored to conserve and make use of the old building. They helped clean up the building and repurposed the space for the local Girl Scout troop. However, real headway in the museum project wouldn’t begin until the early 2000’s when a student service learning project helped to reinvigorate and complete the restoration of the Museum.
Students from Friona High School were involved in every phase of the mission from project proposals and grant writing to cleaning, decorating, and landscaping. The effects of the project not only added a valuable resource and point of pride for the community, but it also invested students with a feeling of worth and connection to place. As one of these students, I can attest to the profound sense of pride and accomplishment I feel when I visit the museum today. To be fair, my connections to the museum are very personal as my great-grandmother was a part of the women’s club that began the museum project, and my mother continues to help maintain the building today.
For these reasons I am always willing to give my time to the museum. To fulfill my community service hours for Ogallala Commons, I spent two days working in the Museum. On day one, I simply gave the building a good cleaning. The floors required vacuuming and the whole place was in need of a good dusting. On day two, I helped rearrange displays and frame new posters for the upstairs entry-way.