If you’ve ever visited the Anderson Barn Museum, you’ve likely seen the log building on the lawn. It’s always popular with visitors; we’ve seen graduation, wedding, and family photos taken there, and people are inevitably drawn to the charming cabin. This fall, work began to use the Svalhus in a new way and make it more accessible to visitors than ever before. The project was spearheaded by the family of Anne M. West, the first female president of the EHF Board and a longtime supporter of the organization.
In 1996, Anne was part of a committee that successfully acquired the iconic Svalhus for the Ephraim Historical Foundation. This historic building had been the original location of Doris Heise Miller’s Cabin Craft Shop and, through a bequest from the Miller estate, the EHF was able to relocate the Svalhus to the EHF property and restore the building. Anne knew Doris and had worked for her, so it was no surprise that Anne was passionate about preserving this wonderful building. When the Svalhus arrived at the EHF, the original intent was to create a warm inviting meeting area, or as the Miller family described, “the living room of Ephraim” for everyone to enjoy.
The goal of a warm and inviting space remains the same, though the building will now serve an additional role as the Svalhus Research Library, funded by the Anne M. West Memorial Fund. With the library, we will expand our abilities to:
- maintain the Foundation’s collection of books, periodicals and selected papers
- provide user-friendly access to archival items catalogued in the Foundation’s database
- inventory and provide access to recorded oral histories and History Speaks programs
- conduct genealogical and historical research projects
Future blog posts will share more about the work being done in the Svalhus, so look for updates as we move closer to the completion of this project. Our goal is to have the Svalhus Research Library open by mid-May. Click here to learn more.
-Guest Bloggers Thea Thompson and Emily Irwin