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SE Kansas museum plans expansion after donation - KOAM TV 7

SE Kansas museum plans expansion after donation

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Current Milken building Current Milken building
Inside current Milken building Inside current Milken building
New building plan New building plan
New building plan New building plan
New building plan New building plan
A vacant spot in Fort Scott, Kansas will soon be home to an organization that honors everyday heroes who don't get much mention.  City Commissioners voted tonight to donate land to the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes.

Plans aim to change history in order to better tell history.  Fort Scott's old-time Main Street will soon have a new member.

"It helps all of us," says Barbara Trimbur, owner of "The Iron Star Antiques and Such."

Trimbur's store is near the Lowell Center for Unsung Heroes.  Right across from it is an open, green piece of land, where the Milken Center wants to expand.

"A national destination travel point," says Norm Conard with the Lowell Milken Center.  

There's already a draw to the organization's current building.  Milken Center workers say in the past few days alone, they've seen visitors from Louisiana, California, and Australia.  

"We actually have artifacts connected with a lot of our unsung heroes.  We have people who have interviewed them.  We, as a staff, have done stories on these people," says Conard.

But those stories are confined by space.  Construction plans call for the new building to have triple the current space for exhibits alone.  Instead of only showcasing ten exhibits, the new Milken Center building will highlight up to 36 stories of role models.

"These role models are exciting stories," says Conard.

Back in 2005, a fire destroyed a building that used to stand on the open land.  Residents say though this area hasn't been an eye sore, there's been an open space in the local economy.

"We want to be able to have as much as possible to make it worthwhile for someone to spend a weekend in Fort Scott," says Trimbur.

Economy aside, there are the stories of unsung heroes.

"Like Adam Shoemaker, who was a teacher, and he happened to have a student in one of his classes, Abraham Lincoln.  And Lincoln would later say it was Adam Shoemaker, the teacher, who started him on his road to opposing slavery," says Conard.

Through telling more of these stories, Milken workers hope more people realize everyone has an equal opportunity to make a difference.

Milken Center workers hope to have the new building completed by next Fall.  The project's $1.3 million cost will be covered by the Lowell Milken Family Foundation in California.

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