Branson Centennial Museum Open House

WRVHS Board Member Leon Combs, WRVHS Managing Director Leslie Wyman, Branson business owner Joe Reish, and WRVHS Board Member Jim Babcock pose in the Reish Shoes building.

Through the generosity of Joe and Barbara Reish, the Branson Centennial Museum will continue to offer visitors to the downtown area an opportunity to learn about the rich history of Branson and Taney County. The museum, owned by the White River Valley Historical Society, has been housed since 2012 in a building on Veterans Blvd. that has now been sold.

Joe and Barbara Reish, longtime Branson business owners, have donated the use of their historic building located at 120 S. Commercial for the museum, after recently closing their shoe store. Prior to Reish Shoes moving into the building in 2001, Branson Mercantile had operated there since 1945.

The Branson Centennial Museum will offer visitors a “work-in-progress” peek at the new space during an Open House on Sunday, June 12, from 2:00–4:00pm. The Reish Family Gallery of Branson History will include a special section devoted to the history of the family businesses, as well as original rotating exhibits.

“We’re so excited to be able to continue operations in Branson,” stated WRVHS Managing Director Leslie Wyman. “This is a perfect location for the many visitors to downtown Branson to access, and we just can’t thank Joe and Barb enough for this opportunity. It also has personal significance to me as I was the first employee they hired when they took over the Mercantile from Joe’s aunt and uncle. As we walked through the building, it brought back so many memories of the store, which was a fixture for decades in town, as was Reish Shoes. It’s a fantastic building for a museum, with plenty of behind-the-scenes storage and work spaces. It’s much larger than our prior space, so we’ll be able to expand the size of our exhibits and showcase more of our various artifacts for longer periods of time, rather than rotating them quite so frequently.”

“We’re very grateful to Jim D Morris for allowing us to use his building on Veterans Blvd for the past four years—without his generosity, the Branson Centennial Museum would not have been able to continue after the celebration of the city’s centennial.”

The 55-year-old non-profit White River Valley Historical Society includes a museum, research library, and bookstore/gift shop. WRVHS hours are Monday – Friday, 10:00–4:00, at 297 Main Street in Forsyth. The Society’s Branson Centennial Museum (417–239–1912) is located at 120 S Commercial, downtown Branson, and when completed, will feature the Reish Family Gallery of History, as well as a bookstore/gift shop. Hours will be Monday through Saturday, 10:00–4:00. There is no admission charge at either location.

About White River Valley Historical Society

The WRVHS exists to preserve, protect, and promote the cultural history of Taney County, Missouri, and the upper White River Valley region through public programs and educational events.

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