As I have often point out, while most small museums are not open during the winter months does not mean that they are not busy. In the Midwest, traditionally November through March are when year-round museums record their lowest visitation. Without full-time paid staff, it is just not feasible for small museums to have open hours. Instead they use this time to make major repairs, physical improvements or enhance exhibits. This has definitely been the case for the Civil War Veterans Museum. Since closing at the end of last October, work has been done to the museum’s entrance thus improving the quality of the experience for the visitor. In the past the entry way acted as an extension of the gift shop with an array of used books and consigned items for sale. The visitor had to navigate this hodge-podge of items just to turn the corner to get to the reception desk. Over the winter this has been completely re-done so that now as the soon as the visitor enters the main doors, they are greeted by a representative of the museum. With many of the consigned goods removed, now an improved gift shop with a much cleaner look is the last room they go through before returning to the main doors to exit. Adding to the initial impression of the museum, the upper walls surrounding the entry room feature Civil War inspired murals painted by Kent Schwartz. Known for the outdoor murals in downtown Nebraska City, Kent’s work sets the tone for what the visitor will experience, especially if it is their first time to see the museum. The murals were possible through a grant from the Nelson Family Foundation. Changes in the main exhibit gallery are also evident once the visitor passes through the weapons room. Disproving the old adage, “Once you’ve been a museum you don’t have to go back because they never change,” the work done this winter will give even a returning visitor an improved and meaningful experience. Opening for the season with Arbor Day Weekend, the museum will be open Friday through Sunday, noon to 4:00 p.m. until the end of October. Then the volunteers will have an opportunity to make more enhancements. The Nebraska City Museums Resident Program had begun for the year. Residents living in the 68410 zip code are able to visit all of Nebraska City’s museums, with the exception of Arbor Lodge, on weekends for free. Proof of residency must be shown and children must be accompanied by an adult. The program runs until the end of October. This is a great opportunity to visit the community’s museums and see the changes that they have also made this winter. IF YOU GO Civil War Veterans Museum 910 First Corso Nebraska City, NE Hours are; 12:00 – 4:00; Friday - Sunday $3 for adults, $1 for children www.civilwarmuseumnc.org