Some clouds. Low 38F. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph..
Some clouds. Low 38F. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph.
Updated: November 5, 2022 @ 11:27 pm

Al Donaldson of Orange City arranges antique Dutch pipes donated to the Dutch-American Heritage Museum by he and his wife Linda. Donaldson has been helping create new exhibits at the museum, which will reopen to the public during the Tulip Festival.
This exhibit on family and home life in Orange City a hundred years ago is one of several all-new exhibits the Dutch-American Heritage Museum. After 18 months of renovation and reorganizing, the museum board members have created a whole new section of exhibits.
The newly renovated annex at the Dutch-American Heritage Museum in Orange City has been redone in Marken style, a type of construction for Dutch buildings. Later this year it will house military exhibits.

Al Donaldson of Orange City arranges antique Dutch pipes donated to the Dutch-American Heritage Museum by he and his wife Linda. Donaldson has been helping create new exhibits at the museum, which will reopen to the public during the Tulip Festival.
ORANGE CITY—The old is being made new again as the Dutch-American Heritage Museum in Orange City prepares to reopen for the summer with a whole new section of exhibits.
The last 18 months have been a flurry of activity for museum board members who have been working hard to design and install the all-new exhibits that tell the story of the settling and growth of Orange City more in depth than before.
“It’s a whole new narrative of the early town,” said Sara Huyser, vice president of the museum board and a major contributor to the new exhibits. “It covers the growth of farming in the community, we cover some of the sad things of tornadoes and polio epidemic and then all kinds of the fun things that people did for recreation.”
Those who have visited the museum in the past will be familiar with other exhibits, which showcase Dutch clothing, early settlers and connections between N’West Iowa and the Netherlands. Those exhibits remain, although they have been significantly updated and refreshed with many recently donated artifacts.
However, much has changed on the inside since the museum closed for the winter in 2019. The museum board members have been hard at work expanding the middle section of the museum to showcase much more of Orange City’s history.
The new exhibits fulfill a goal the board has been working toward for years: creating a narrative for the entire museum so people could walk through and see the story of Orange City unfold in front of them.
“The goal was really to make a story that weaved through the whole museum,” Huyser said. “We had great artifacts in the museum but we didn’t have a cohesive narrative that went through the entire museum.”
This exhibit on family and home life in Orange City a hundred years ago is one of several all-new exhibits the Dutch-American Heritage Museum. After 18 months of renovation and reorganizing, the museum board members have created a whole new section of exhibits.
Changes and additions to exhibits is normal, but the amount of new material that will be on display for the Tulip Festival and later this summer at the grand reopening is more than the board would have been able to accomplish ordinarily. Being closed for months because of the pandemic proved to be the perfect opportunity to redo the museum inside and out.
“While people couldn’t come into the museum, that didn’t mean things weren’t going on in the museum,” Huyser said. “It is exciting for us because it’s just a dream come true that everything can be updated and can look how we would have wanted it to look all along.”
Designing new exhibits has been a team effort. Board president Arlo Van Beek has been an invaluable resource. His extensive knowledge of the museum’s collection of artifacts that have been donated over the last year has contributed to several exhibits the board is excited to unveil.
He also is taking the lead on compiling the military displays which will be exhibited in the annex building to the west of the main museum. The annex previously was set up as a general store, but the museum’s growing military collection needed a new place to unfold.
“Everyone will find something interesting there,” Van Beek said.
On top of getting all-new displays on the interior, the annex is changing on the outside. Work is winding down on a yearlong project to renovate the museum buildings and grounds after a successful fundraising effort last year.
Starting last February, the board launched a capital campaign with a goal of receiving $365,000 in pledges. Generous donations allowed the museum to exceed that goal for a total of $560,000 when the campaign ended in March.
Building updates began last July, starting with a major overhaul of the annex.
Formerly a nondescript brown building, the annex has been completely redone in the style of a Dutch building. The inside was torn apart down to the studs and completely redone with new heating and lighting to make it a better space for storing and displaying exhibits.
The newly renovated annex at the Dutch-American Heritage Museum in Orange City has been redone in Marken style, a type of construction for Dutch buildings. Later this year it will house military exhibits.
The main museum has been touched up as well, with new carpet and paint in two sections and new heating and cooling. It is the first full-scale upgrade the museum has done on its buildings since moving into the site around 30 years ago.
Additionally, Greenworld of Sioux Center has been contracted to design and plant a garden on museum property. The community space has trees, perennial prairie plants and tulip beds.
“Everyone can drive by and see it’s a dramatic change to the corner,” Huyser said. “But we did want the inside to reflect the changes from the outside. We didn’t want the inside to stay static.”
The museum has been closed since the winter of 2019 because of the pandemic, but will open for the Tulip Festival 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, May 13-15. Members of the public also got a sneak peek of the new exhibits at an open house held May 10.
During the Tulip Festival, board members will be there to show people through the museum, answer questions and talk about future additions that will be coming later this year.
“People are really going to enjoy it because we have really interesting artifacts and an interesting narrative. There’s going to be so many things in the museum that draw different peoples’ interest,” Huyser said.
Going forward, the museum will be open for the summer on the first Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting in June, as well as by appointment. A ribbon cutting and grand reopening is planned for mid-July when the final work on the museum and exhibits is finished.
Organization: Dutch-American Heritage Museum
Address: 120 Third St. SW, Orange City
Hours: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. first Saturday of the month starting June.
Contact: jillhaarsma@gmail.com
Online: Facebook
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