Preserving history for future generations takes an understanding of the past and a vision for the future. In Crawford, Charlene Vail, a volunteer at the Crawford Historical Museum, possesses both of those qualities.
Vail was recently presented with a Heritage Hero certificate and pin from History Nebraska for her efforts to keep the town’s history alive and accessible.
“Charlene has worked tirelessly to keep the museum open,” wrote fellow volunteer Carol Foster in her nomination of Vail for the award. “Charlene knows the importance of keeping objects for family history, and she wants to save this town’s and Fort Robinson’s history. It is hard to put into words what a big project this has been for her.”
Vail was presented with the Heritage Hero Award June 29 at the museum by History Nebraska board member and former State Senator Bob Wickersham. Vail’s contributions to local preservation efforts are also a contribution to the state, he said.
The Crawford Historical Museum was established in its current location at 341 2 nd St. in 1992 after a disastrous flooding event on the White River destroyed its previous building and many of the exhibits. Many of the exhibits on display today were acquired after that flood and encompass the themes of Native Americans, Traders and;Trappers, Military Presence, Farming & Ranching, Education, Cultural Growth and specific Businesses and Organizational interests.
Vail has served as a volunteer at the museum for roughly two decades and expressed appreciation for the volunteers who built the museum before she arrived.
“If not for them, we wouldn’t have a museum. I’m just carrying on what they started,” Vail said.