Moville will finally have a museum

A mural on Moville's Main St, one of two roads in the town where a number of business projects...
A mural on Moville's Main St, one of two roads in the town where a number of business projects are taking place.(KTIV)
Published: Feb. 4, 2023 at 10:29 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MOVILLE, Iowa (AP) — From the time she was a teenager attending Woodbury Central High School in Moville, Grace Linden wondered why her town didn’t have a museum.

It made no sense to her that Moville, home of the Woodbury County Fair and Woodbury County Library, didn’t have a place where people could learn about the town’s history, notable residents and businesses that once occupied Main Street buildings.

“I always had a dream that Moville should have a museum,” Linden told the Sioux City Journal.

A few decades later, that dream is about to come true.

When Security National Bank finishes building its new bank in the coming months and vacates its present location on the town’s main square at Second and Main streets, the Moville Historical Society will move into the historic building, built in 1919.

The focus then turns to filling a museum instead of wishing for one.

“It’s something we can be proud of in Moville is see what people did to build our city. Most people see the worth of it,” said Linden, a retired Sioux City Public Museum curator who returned to Moville in 2016.

The museum has been a low-key project since the historical society was formed in 2019, but it’s time to raise the profile now that the museum is becoming reality. The historical society is hosting a museum launch party from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday at the Moville Community Center.

It’s a way to step up efforts to obtain more items, increase awareness and raise money.

“It’s really helped that people are beginning to notice us,” said Linden, the historical society’s president.

It’s easier to take notice when people know the museum is a sure thing, taking up residence in a building many of them have visited to conduct financial transactions.

Charles Logan established First Trust & Savings Bank in 1919, built the current building and later expanded into an adjacent building. The bank was owned and operated by the Logan family until Security National Bank bought it in 2015.

Knowing the historical society was interested in the building, Security National Bank reached out to Linden two years ago to inform her of the bank’s plans to build a new building on Frontage Road along U.S. Highway 20. Was the historical society, the bank asked, still interested in the current building for its museum?

Linden didn’t hesitate to answer.

“I said, ‘of course,’” she said.

Charles Logan’s son, Howard Logan, donated the money to buy the building, which the historical society has owned since June. The bank will easily transform into a museum, Linden said, and no major renovations will be necessary.

“We’re not going to change anything,” Linden said of the bank’s interior.

The teller windows, remnants from an era long past and fitted with bullet-proof glass decades ago after a rash of bank robberies, and the bank’s vault will remain. Offices will easily convert into display rooms, each featuring a different topic such as former businesses, Moville schools and notable residents. There will be a research room, where people can seek information in files full of old photos and papers, high school yearbooks and other documents.

Despite the lack of a building, the historical society has been compiling a collection, a portion of it currently on display at the Moville Senior Center, which has served as a temporary museum. A couple afternoons a week, Linden is there cataloging artifacts and checking in donated items.

“Wonderful things have walked though the door. It seems like every week we’re here, someone is bringing a box in,” she said.

Judging by the number and quality of items dropped off, Linden said the desire of Moville residents to preserve their town’s history is obvious.

The museum could pull travelers passing by on U.S. 20 into town, but most likely will be a place for locals, be they senior citizens or school children on a field trip, to learn more about their home town.

“Every community needs something to pull themselves together as a community, as a group, and say we need this,” Linden said. “Our kids need to learn history.”

Linden said she hopes the museum will give residents a sense of history and pride about where they come from.

“It’s telling the story of Moville, Iowa, to everyone,” she said.

A story that, soon, will be an open book for anyone to walk in and enjoy.