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Museum hosts concert
A vintage Santa Claus and decorations from Christmases long past greeted visitors to the Willows Museum on Thursday.
But the annual gala was as much about celebrating the Museum Society's commitment to keeping the museum doors open as it was in celebrating the holiday season.
"It's been a good year," said president Ray Crabtree, noting the recent improvements to the historic Carnegie building.
The Willows Museum was build as a library in 1911 with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
In addition to security improvements made this year, volunteers established a new memorial garden to remember former Museum Society President Peter Towne, who died in 2011.
Thursday gala was standing room only, and was a substantially larger crowd than at last year's event.
Many came early so they could also attend the Willows Intermediate School's Christmas program held the same night.
Others, like Pauline Roberts and her daughter Judy Foster, came to enjoy the entertainment.
It was the first time they attended the Christmas program, although they have visited the museum in the past.
"It was wonderful," Roberts said. "I love the Mennonite Choir."
Foster said her mother's family has lived in the area for several generations, and that Roberts hoped to donate an antique highchair that once belonged to her grandmother.
Guests included a mix of regular attendees like David Vodden and Councilman Terry Taylor Vodden and first time attendees like Councilman Larry Mello, wife Cynthia and daughter Angela.
Rolf Ehrhardt, of Houston, who is visiting friends in Willows for the holidays, said Thursday was his first visit to the museum.
"I'm impressed," he said. "I didn't know Willows had a museum. I plan to come back when it's not so crowded and take my time touring everything. It's a very nice museum."
The Museum Society's next event will be the annual membership drive and meeting on Feb. 24.
Crabtree said they lost longtime secretary Evelyn Whisman, when she moved out-of-state this year, and are hoping to attract more volunteers.
"We really miss her," Crabtree said. "We always counted on her for everything."
Crabtree said he would especially like to see younger people become involved who will foster an interest in preserving Willows and Glenn County's history for future generations.
The museum is ran entirely by volunteers and is funded by various types of donations, membership dues, endowments and bequests.