Our Opinion: Symbol helps preserve our collective past

Each Cole County Historical Society Christmas ornament is attached to a ribbon, which has both a practical and figurative application.

The ribbon is used to hang the ornament on a Christmas tree, but it also ties past and present, and binds the organization to the community.

Sales of the ornament during the holiday season support the historical society’s museum operations and preservation efforts.

This year’s ornament features the Missouri Pacific Railroad Station. The $15 ornament includes a red, green or gold ribbon, a description of the image’s history and significance, and gift box. It is available at the museum and a number of retail outlets.

The ornaments have a history of their own.

They were first offered 27 years ago, after former society board member Judy Cadice saw a similar concept while attending a New York gift market.

“I thought it would be a great fundraiser for the historical society so I presented it to our board,” she said.

Today, more than quarter of century later, the ornaments themselves have become collectibles.

“The ornaments are a piece of history that will last forever,” Cadice said. “People who bought the first few ornaments still have them and many have the entire collection.”

The collection includes prominent places (Capitol, Governor’s Mansion), people (Gen. Sterling Price) and things (the state flag and state seal).

And a number of local artists — the late Sabra Eagan, Atelier founder Carla Steck and Firehouse Designs Creative Director Tisha Spencer — have been involved in crafting the depictions on the ornaments.

Involvement in creating the ornaments has radiated throughout the community.

“It’s not just the board members and past presidents (who are involved),” said Society Vice President Natalie Tackett. “It’s the people who come up with the ideas and those at the organizations or buildings chosen along with the people out there selling for us.”

The Cole County Historical Society ties us to our collective past.

Purchasing an ornament provides both a visual reminder of and contribution to preservation of the society’s mission.

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