Taking care of history
From paper to buildings, Questers seek to preserve history
SCOTTSBLUFF — Panhandle residents who are interested in preserving and restoring the past for the benefit of the future can join one of the local chapters of Questers and share your love of history, collecting and educating others.
Questers is an international organization which hosts educational programs, speakers trips and workshops centered around the preservation and/or restoration of historical pieces and/or places. The organization is active in the Panhandle, boasting three chapters — Dome Rockers, Scotts Bluff and Scotts Girls. Current Nebraska State President Sandra Strey is the first Quester from the Panhandle to serve in that position.
The organization and its members are interested in history and believe in preservation of everything from paper to buildings. Previous talks have covered antique leather books and postcards. Strey said she never thought the book talk would be all that interesting, but she was fascinated at the workmanship required to produce such items. It’s not all serious. Strey said it is also a lot of fun.
Strey also became an expert on several new historical items. “It was a learning experience, but I was fortunate that a lot of people would help me,” she said. “That was the most fun for me. We go on trips and see many historical items and historical sites,” she said. They have made trips to Fort Robinson and Fort Laramie. But one trip to Sioux County was particularly memorable for Strey.
“The Agate Springs Ranch house was interesting,” she said. “A lot of it is empty, but there are a lot of little touches of history everywhere.” Locally, Questers obtained a grant to paint the windows at the West Nebraska Art Center. They are currently waiting to hear if they will re- ceive a grant for the coping, or wall capping, on the outside of the building. The Dome Rockers chapter, which Strey belongs to, helped in the moving of materials from the North Platte Valley museum to the Farm and Ranch museum as the two were merging into the Legacy of the Plains Museum.
Strey’s heart lies in helping preserve history at the Legacy of the Plains Museum. The Dome Rockers were among several groups who worked together to transport everything from the Platte Valley Museum to Legacy. “Maybe we didn’t give them money, but we gave them hours,” she said. “The best thing was, every time we were at the museum, you could hear laughter throughout the place.”
Statewide, Questers is waiting to hear about a grant for the Bess Streeter Aldrich home in Elmwood. Strey said. She has been pleased with the amount of work and support from the state for the many projects Questers is involved in. “Nebraska has been very progressive about helping our state,” she said.
Questers was founded on April 6, 1944, by Jessie Elizabeth Bardens, a red cross production chairman, in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. “She had a group of people come to her house and bring an antique and a sandwich,” Strey said. From that grew the motto, “The powers of the mind are memory and imagination for without memory we have no past without imagination, and future.”
Strey became involved after she was invited by Ronda Lewis to a Spring Tea where potential new members can find out more information about the organization. Strey became one of the charter members of the new chapter, Dome Rockers. The names of chapters come from something in the area where the chapter is established. Each chapter has a minimum of eight people. Many keep about 15-20 in a chapter to keep the original idea of everyone fitting into one home intact. They have the flexibility to decide when and where they meet, but most meet from September to May. A member can also be an associate member in one other chapter. Strey said this happens more often when a new chapter is beginning, so other chapter members can help get the new one up and running until they can stand on their own.
Taken from the Omaha Star-Herald, Friday, January 19, 2018
This display box was a regular fixture in many stores around the country. Customers could simply pull open a drawer, grab the piece of thread they wanted and go pay for it. With the clear fronts, customers could view what they needed before opening the drawer and having fewer hands touch the threads before one was purchased.
This needle box is one of the unique items stored at the Legacy of the Plains Museum in Gering. It is one item that Sandra Strey, Nebraska Questers president, likes to show off because it is in excellent condition and nearly intact as it was when the needles were sold.
These types of display cases used to be a regular site in stores around the country. Customers would sim- ply pull open a drawer and take what type of thread they needed and go pay for it, said Sandra Strey, president of the Nebraska Questers. The box is currently stored at the Legacy of the Plains Museum and is one of many items in the museum’s collection. Strey said she hopes it will one day be on display for the public