The UNK Staff Senate is pleased to recognize The Frank House as the February 2009 Department of the Month. The Frank House has been a focal point of Kearney outreach and engagement since the first stone was laid in 1886. The Frank family used their residence to encourage investment in their vision for Kearney as a community of cultural and economic excellence. In the early 20th Century, it became the quarters for the State Tuberculosis Hospital staff and director. Today, the University community continues living the vision as a showcase of excellence--preserving, interpreting and sharing the cultural resources.
The Chancellor’s Christmas Party, Titanic Dinner Theatre and Edible Flowers Tea are long-standing and continuing traditions at the Frank House. Over the last year, new traditions have emerged. Saturdays have grown to include 10 programs for families each semester with some programs drawing audiences of more than 50 people. Other Frank House programs include; Parlor Performances featuring UNK Music Ensembles, the Servants' Workshops and “Frank Talks” which are coordinated with Smart-Money Week and The Preservation Celebration, UNK’s own version of “Antiques Road Show,” featuring faculty experts.
New partnerships have been formed with Trails and Rails, the Museum of Nebraska Art, Rowe Sanctuary, Children’s Museum, Kearney Visitor’s Center and Kearney Area Chamber or Commerce bringing education, cultural outreach and promotional activities to the region through cooperative events such as “Teacher’s Night Out.” Grants brought in the equivalent of $12,000 from the American Association for State and Local History, the Kearney Area Community Foundation and The Mid-America Arts Alliance.
House attendance for 2007 was more than 450 percent of the prior year and the highest of the last 15 years on record at the museum. The record was broken again in 2008; attendance was 150 percent of 2007. Last year, 151 tours were given. High school journalism classes, middle and elementary schools from across the state, and scout groups from out-of-state, were welcomed for study days and tours at the Frank House. The department hosted new guests to the campus from the Lied Center Board, Nebraska Press Association and MONA’s Spirit events. Volunteers from the Friends of the Frank House, the Soil Sisters, area high schools and UNK totaled well over 400 volunteer hours for the museum, and the Frank House gardens. Last year, more than 150 events and meetings took place at the Frank House, and of those, 90 percent were University related.
Four work-study students, two student workers, 12 service-learners and five practicum students furthered their education while helping update the Web site, research and present public programs, manage the collection and prepare for events. A major Frank House staff project of digitizing the 1,000 letters to and from Augustus Frank is nearing completion.
Staff Senate is privileged to recognize outstanding service to UNK, the Kearney community and the state by awarding the February 2009 UNK Department of the Month to The Frank House museum and its staff.
Thank you to the sponsors of the Department of the Month: UNK Athletics and Staff Senate.