WAYNESVILLE, Mo. — The 1903 Courthouse Museum in Waynesville provides a look at what made the town what it is today.
The courthouse was built in 1903 and was retired in 1989. At that time, there was a long discussion about what to do with the building. It eventually became home to items passed down through history and items citizens bring in themselves.
“People bring them in and donate them to us,” said Denise Seevers, who is President of the Historical Society. “Either cleaning out Grandpa’s garage or things they have found out hiking in the woods, they bring them into us.”
Some of Seever’s favorite displays are the courtroom itself, a book from the Old Poor Farm Cemetery, and tools used to help build Pulaski County. She said there are at least 500 items in the museum.
“The courtroom is always the first thing. We call it our crown jewel because of the hardwood floors, the hardwood ceiling. It’s all original. It is a beautiful room. It has features that were not used often back in 1903,” Seevers said.
The county took over care of the Old Poor Farm cemetery about a decade ago. Seevers said there are about 200 graves there, most of which are unmarked.
The museum also features a quilt collection. Some of the handmade quilts date back to the turn of the century.
There is also a salute to the military, and Seevers is looking to add more information to those displays.
“Without history, we cannot move forward,” Seevers said. “We need to remember our history and we need to remember the truth of our history, how hard it was, what people really endured, and also how much fun they had. Because they didn’t know it was hard. They had a good time.”
The 1903 Courthouse Museum is open for tours by appointment. The museum is maintained by donations, but tours are free.