COVID-19 has had an impact on Pioneer Village Museum, members of the Barron County Historical Society learned when they met at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020 at the museum grounds 1866 County Hwy. W, Cameron.

Mark Dobberfuhl, society president, mentioned that because of the pandemic, museum income is down in almost every category except donations — which have risen this year.

The society still has access to cash left over from the May 2017 tornado, he added. The storm caused extensive damage to buildings on the museum site. An additional $2,782 remains to be spent, he said.

Dobberfuhl noted that the museum has had just over 1,000 visitors this year compared to some 6,000 in 2019, mainly attributable to the coronavirus pandemic.

Some unexpected cost savings took place when the museum’s church needed to be repainted, according to Tamera Schutz, museum director.

She said her husband, Bob Schutz, helped do the work, along with Rozelyn Rockman and other volunteers.

“The original bid (for the paint job) was for about $15,000, if we scraped the building first,” Schutz said Monday, Sept. 14. “A local gentleman lent us his Snorkel lift, which made the job much easier. It cost less than $1,500.”

Members learned that, in a way, the pandemic has been beneficial, enabling volunteers to accomplish many large improvement projects during the summer.

Volunteer John Peter, who coordinates maintenance projects, praised the efforts of many people who helped out this summer, often showing up on their own, besides the normal Wednesday workdays.

He named Craig Christenson, Jack Nedland, Pete Sinclair, Don Kettner, Bob Schutz, Dale Evenson, Randy McDaniel, Gary Nielson, Giggs Giguere, Dennis Frolic, Dave Wozniak, Roz Rockman and Jim Hansen.

Schutz said the society is setting up a YouTube channel to record important information about the museum and county history. One such recording will include information from Barron resident Arlyn Colby about the history of the county’s railroads.