staff photo by alexander simone
Rural Peabody resident Marvin Larsen donated a variety of items to Marion Historical Museum shortly before his death. Among them were these John Deere collectibles. So many items were donated that many had to be housed in a storage unit.
When Peggy Blackman heard someone wanted to donate his possessions to Marion Historical Museum but wanted his name kept anonymous until his death, she had a new experience.
“I haven’t ever been party to anything like this,” she said. “He had no relatives to give this to and he did not want this to be sold in an auction.”
Even her first contact with the donor was not supposed to happen.
Rural Peabody resident Marvin Larsen contacted the museum in fall 2019, thinking it still was a county museum, Blackman said.
The county however, ceded it over to the city in the 1990s, she said.
Historical museum members convinced Larsen to keep his items in-county instead of donating them to a Newton museum.
The mix-up was a happy accident, Blackman said.
“Yes it was,” she said. “That’s exactly right.”
Larsen died last week at 97, but his possessions live on in the museum.
His donated items, dating back to the early 1900s, held extra significance since they were household objects, not things being stored in his attic, Blackman said.
“It helps us preserve the beautiful history of our county, particularly the agricultural aspect,” she said. “This was a gentleman who lived all his life from a child in our county and preserved so much of his history through his household collectibles and items. That was a treasure we didn’t want to lose.”
Larsen donated so many items that any not fitting in the museum were moved to a storage unit.
“It’s my goal that we can get an empty building downtown and set it up room-to-room with his things, as an annex for people to see,” she said. “That’s for the future.”
One of displays is dedicated to John Deere products, ranging from tractor collectibles to silverware.
“Anything that had a John Deere logo on it, I think he had,” she said.
Blackman is unsure when the museum will unveil Larsen’s donations, but museums can open Friday, and Marion Historical Museum will be doing tours by appointment.
Last modified May 21, 2020