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Donated cabinets a boon for small historical societies, local museums

Many of the Rogue Valley's smaller historical societies and museums are delighted at the gift of beautiful, high-end display cases from the Southern Oregon Historical Society, which became available after closure of the Jacksonville Museum.

Three cases received by the Ashland Historic Railroad Museum make possible the secure display of artifacts and documents from the 1923 D'Autremont Train Robbery and items from the era in which a Chinese community worked on the railroad.

"They're just gorgeous and fit in with the rest of the oak here," said AHRM Director Victoria Law.

"We didn't have any cases and we have a small budget, so it helps us a lot. There's more security and we can get more artifacts donated," she said.

Law priced cabinets and estimated the hardwood cabinets from SOHS to be valued at more than $3,500.

A dozen of the cabinets were gifted to AHRM, Medford Railroad Park, Gold Hill Historical Society, the Eagle Point Historical Society and Museum and the Jacksonville Museum Association.

(Correction: The list of cabinet recipients has been updated to remove an error that appeared in an early version of this story.)

SOHS Executive Director Allison Weiss said: "They were so excited. There's no way they would have the money for custom-made cabinets like this. To me it's a very positive thing to see them used by other museums."

SOHS gave cabinets and a historic stereo picture viewer to the new Jacksonville Heritage Society, which will use them to help with exhibits it plans to spread around town, including the Peter Britt exhibits, familiar to museum-goers for many years, said board member Ginger Casto. One will be up at Sterling Bank in Jacksonville in late July.

In the Ashland museum, Law notes, the new cabinet space will allow her to receive artifacts from a pioneer Ashland family, including World War I items from the donor's grandfather.

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.