Since our last Urbana Daily Citizen updated in June, the Johnny Appleseed Foundation continued its diligent efforts to revive the Johnny Appleseed Education Center and Museum after its long dormancy caused by the pandemic and the closure of the University of Urbana in March 2020.
In June 2021, the JA Foundation was able to purchase Browne Hall, where the museum has been located since 2018. Soon, it will once again present the museum’s collection which had been in storage since the closure. Once again, he will be able to educate visitors about the life and lessons that make Johnny Appleseed a legend and a true folk hero, as well as a significant contributor to local history.
Located at 518 College Way, Browne Hall is a magnificent historic building in its own right. It was built by Dr. Thomas Moses in 1875 as his private residence. He was a doctor from Cincinnati who, like John Chapman, was of the Swedishborgian denomination. He was a faculty member at the University of Urbana and later as president. After his retirement to Waltham, Mass., His home remained a private residence for some time. A few years after his death in 1917, John James, who donated the original land for the college, bought the house and donated it to Urbana University to be used for “educational purposes.”
Today, thanks to the incredible generosity of a large anonymous donor and the willingness of Franklin University to significantly reduce the purchase price, the total roof and gutter replacement was completed at the end of September and the work masonry repair needed by historical restoration experts are about to begin.
In July, area Scout troops helped sort and move stored items to new locations in the building and enjoyed a pizza lunch in the field.
Landscaping work is underway, with planning for a small apple orchard with “authentic” Johnny Appleseed trees, a picnic area, and a small children’s park and playground moved from Hilliard.
A local company has been hired to design new signage for the museum and is now nearing completion.
With the main exterior concerns of the building and grounds largely taken into account, the focus is now on interior needs, which include hiring a design firm to develop an exciting and meaningful experience for visitors to all ages, which will tell the story of Johnny’s life and times.
Upon reopening, the JA Museum will continue to house the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of information on Johnny Appleseed, making his extensive research collection once again available for use by historians and scholars.
As a result of the work of our museum reorganization committee and consultation with regional museum experts, a search committee was formed to identify and hire a qualified professional to “bring the museum to life” by working with the board of directors. administration of the Johnny Appleseed Foundation, a selected design company and other entrepreneurs to carry out this process.
There is still a lot of work ahead of us to prepare for the reopening to the public. The Foundation is now planning an opening in the spring of 2022, but could also organize pre-opening events for the community before the ‘grand opening’.
$ 50,000 matching fund campaign underway
How to contribute:
To help cover the costs of the reopening, the same generous anonymous donor has pledged to match individual donations to the Johnny Appleseed Museum and Educational Center, dollar for dollar, up to $ 50,000. This campaign is still ongoing. The Johnny Appleseed Foundation is a 501c (3) charity, so donations are tax deductible.
Checks can be sent to: The Johnny Appleseed Foundation, PO Box 799, Urbana OH 43078.
You can donate and learn more about the reopening of the Johnny Appleseed Museum and Education Center by visiting their website: www.johnnyappleseedmuseum.org.
The Johnny Appleseed Foundation also has a GoFundMe page, where your gift will be matched. https: // au.gofundme.com/f/ save-the-johnny-appleseed – museum
The history of the Johnny Appleseed Foundation
In 1997, the Johnny Appleseed Foundation, based for many years at the Dawes Arboretum in Newark, Ohio, was reincorporated in Urbana, Ohio to raise public and private funds to create the first museum entirely dedicated to Chapman’s legacy. : The Johnny Appleseed Educational Center and Museum. The museum’s collection, initially on display at Bailey Hall on the University of Urbana campus, moved to the Browne Hall campus entrance in 2018.
The University of Urbana’s connection to John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman dates back to the decades of the mid-19th century, when Chapman – Swedenborgian lumberjack, orchard, entrepreneur, and missionary – encouraged the founding of a college to prepare young men. and women to spread the “good news straight from heaven,” he found in Swedenborg’s writings. The University of Urbana was the fruit of this encouragement, as the apple was the fruit of its orchards.
In 2014, the then financially struggling University of Urbana was acquired by Franklin University as a secondary campus. Franklin said he had invested about $ 30 million in new or improved programs and facilities at Urbana University over the next six years; but when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in the spring of 2020 and the state of Ohio temporarily closed all college campuses, Franklin, fearing further losses, shut the facility down permanently.
Johnny Appleseed Foundation Mission Says: The Johnny Appleseed Foundation exists to support and raise public awareness and understanding of John Chapman (also known as Johnny Appleseed).
The Johnny Appleseed Foundation provides resources that support the Johnny Appleseed Educational Center and Museum.
The Johnny Appleseed Company
Almost three decades ago, professors and friends from the University of Urbana came together, in what would become the Johnny Appleseed Society, to spark interest in the creation of a museum dedicated to the life and work of John Chapman.
For more information on the Johnny Appleseed Society, contact Jeff Taylor, PO Box 93, Urbana, OH 43078 [email protected]
New roof and gutters completed and landscaping around the building.
Members of the Scout troop helped move and sort things at the end of July. In the photo, scouts carry items up the stairs.
Scouts enjoy a pizza lunch provided by JAF as a thank you for their help.
Betsy Coffman is President of the Johnny Appleseed Foundation.