In 2017, the board of directors at the Boone County Historical Society (BCHS) made the decision to temporarily close the Mamie Doud Eisenhower Birthplace (MDEB) to the public, with the goal of spending up to two years exploring funding options that would allow for needed repairs so that the MDEB can be rehabilitated.
At the April 10 board meeting, the BCHS invited community involvement in determining the direction of the MDEB’s future. Those MDEB enthusiasts who wished to participate in a round table discussion about the future of the MDEB were invited to submit their ideas in writing about “How to Work with Mamie’s History” and “Moving Forward with Mamie’s.” Such ideas were to be submitted no later than April 30, 2018. However, no submissions have been received as of April 26th, so the deadline noted in the Spring/Summer 2018 Trail Tales has been extended.
The idea behind the invitation is to generate new ideas or possibilities for preserving the MDEB and the Mamie Eisenhower legacy as an active, vital part of the Boone community. The round table discussion format was suggested to allow the Historical Society’s MDEB Committee to meet and talk with people who provide new or unique ideas about how the BCHS can preserve the MDEB.
This round table is NOT a meeting of the BCHS board of directors or membership. It is an invitation-only meeting being facilitated by the MDEB Committee to discuss viable options for preserving the MDEB. Only those who submit, in writing, ideas and suggestions that are unique, positive, and practical will be invited to participate. In this way, the committee will be able to discuss and further develop those ideas with the individuals who originated them.
As has been well-publicized, the MDEB faces numerous challenges to its continued presence in the Boone community. Among these are the following: mold; uneven walkways; security issues; lack of training procedures; lack of formal safety plan for docents and visitors in case of emergencies; reduced availability of docents; related concerns about the age and ability of some docents to lock doors and set alarms; and steadily-declining visitor numbers. Submissions that show an understanding of these issues and suggest viable ways to overcome them in the future will be given serious consideration.
In light of the above clarifications, the BCHS is extending the deadline for submissions until May 10. As before, ideas and suggestions must be written (please type or print neatly) about “How to Work with Mamie’s History” and “Moving Forward with Mamie’s.” Send written submissions to the Boone History Center, Attn: MDEB Round Table, 602 Story St., Boone, IA 50036. Submissions must be received no later than May 10.