Letter to the Editor

The future is now!

Monday, September 25, 2017

I participated in the formation of the Will Mayfield Heritage Foundation and served as its president for about 10 years. While I am no longer on the foundation board, Iíve tried to closely follow developments relating to the Museum of Natural History and the Mayfield Cultural Center. The two buildings, which originally were part of the Will Mayfield College, both are owned by the Foundation.

There is considerable urgency surrounding the meeting Sept. 28 announced by the foundation and museum boards. Regarding the museum, it is likely most of the dinosaur, fossil, rocks and other exhibits owned by Guy and Doris Darrough will be withdrawn soon. The Darroughs have commitments to other museums and may choose to move their exhibits to them. This would be a serious blow to the local museum.

The Cultural Center has operated on a shoestring since it opened in 2014. The rehabilitation of the building took more money than was available through State of Missouri tax-credit financing. As a result, the Foundation was left with no financial cushion to support the start-up operations. In recent months, the managers of the center, who also operate the Mayfield Cafe, have worked largely on a volunteer basis. Their ability to continue to do that is very questionable.

Unless the community rallies around continued operation of the museum and the Cultural Center, one or both could face closure and possible sale to private entities in the near future.

Everyone who considers these two fine historic buildings and the services they now provide important to the community is urged to attend the meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Mayfield Cultural Center.

ROBERT FULTON, Patton, Missouri