Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

At west Pasco historical museum, the past is all new

NEW PORT RICHEY — Julie Obenreder would have been proud.

It has been nearly seven months since the 98-year-old nurse known for her compassion and love of history passed away, but a newly renovated West Pasco Historical Society museum is taking her dream to a new level.

Mrs. Obenreder was a founding member of the society, which has reopened its museum with a bang at 6431 Circle Drive in the heart of New Port Richey. The West Pasco Historical Society Rao Musunuru M.D. Museum has a whole new layout and some gems that will take Floridians down West Pasco's memory lane.

Society chairman and past president David Prace beams as he shows off the results of $50,000 worth of renovations to the museum that in 1913 was part of the Seven Springs schoolhouse.

Not long ago, things looked bleak for the museum. Mold had started to take over and the walls began to come apart. But donations from Musunuru and others, as well as a new layout for the exhibits, has given the museum fresh life, with a grand opening two weeks ago that was a big success.

"We're just delighted," Prace said. "We had some 300 people come through here on the weekend we opened back up."

There are some new historic gems as well that take visitors from the days of Native Americans through World War II and beyond.

The society's revamped "Indian Room" includes a mannequin in Tocobaga dress that points to a change in philosophy for the museum's presentation of Native American history.

Prace said in the past the Seminole Tribe has been represented, but truly it was the Tocobagans that first inhabited West Pasco. Prace points to an impressive collection in the museum of arrowheads, stone tools, and pottery that have been uncovered in West Pasco.

"This area is so rich in Indian lore," Prace said.

West Pasco's colorful characters are also well represented in the museum. Names like Decubellis, Rowan, and Hudson adorn the museum's new hallway photo gallery of West Pasco's founding families, which hang opposite a collection of water color paintings by local artists of early pioneer life.

Also newly exhibited is a wing dedicated to old-time medicine in West Pasco, with a display of the desk of Dr. Thomas Brookman who practiced in the 1940s and 50s, and also served as New Port Richey's mayor, Prace said.

In the same room, West Pasco's military, law enforcement, and firefighting heroes are well represented. The museum has a collection of World War II memorabilia that does America's greatest generation proud, along with a new exhibit of uniforms from all branches of the military.

West Pasco's finest are also represented with a new display of Pasco sheriff, New Port Richey police, city and county firefighter uniforms. Also on display is a piece of stone an area firefighter brought home from 2001 relief efforts at the World Trade Center ground zero.

Then there is the library, aptly named the Julie Obenreder Memorial Library Wing, after the woman so instrumental in preserving West Pasco's history. A shrine in her honor in the library shows the smile so many loved, and Prace said the society will be holding a dedication to her in December.

But it's the new interest in the museum that would have most excited her, Prace said.

"She was very progressive,'' he said. "I think she would have loved it."

>>Fast facts

If you go

The West Pasco Historical Society Rao Musunuru M.D. Museum is open Fridays and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Staff will also open the museum upon appointment for tours. The society is seeking volunteers to staff the museum. For more information on appointments or volunteering call 727-847-0680. Pictures and background on the museum can also be found at westpascohistoricalsociety.org.

At west Pasco historical museum, the past is all new 10/07/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 7, 2011 8:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Water Hogs: During drought, hundreds of Tampa Bay homes guzzled a gallon of water a minute

    Drought

    When Amalie Oil president Harry Barkett plunked down $6.75-million for his Bayshore Boulevard mansion, he picked up 12.5 bathrooms, a pool, a hot tub, an elevator and a deck bigger than some one-bedroom apartments.

    During one of the worst droughts in the Tampa Bay region's history, hundreds of houses used more than a gallon of water a minute. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times

  2. PolitiFact Florida checks out Rick Baker's talking point about the growth of St. Petersburg's A-rated schools

    Elections

    Rick Baker has used mailers, forums and social media to relay one big message in his campaign for St. Petersburg mayor: Schools in St. Petersburg saw drastic improvements when he was mayor from 2001 to 2010.

    Rick Baker, candidate for St. Petersburg mayor
  3. Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelly talks family, songwriting and more before Tampa show

    Music & Concerts

    A while back at the Grammys, Charles Kelley found himself in the same room as Paul McCartney. The Lady Antebellum singer, a seven-time Grammy winner in his own right, couldn't work up the courage to say hello.

    Lady Antebellum perform at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday. Credit: Eric Ray Davidson
  4. Clearwater suspect due in court after 9 die in sweltering San Antonio truck

    Nation

    SAN ANTONIO — Nine people are dead and the death toll could rise after emergency crews pulled dozens of people from a sweltering tractor-trailer found parked outside a Walmart in the midsummer Texas heat, victims of what officials said was an immigrant-smuggling attempt gone wrong.

    San Antonio police officers investigate the scene where eight people were found dead in a tractor-trailer loaded with at least 30 others outside a Walmart store in stifling summer heat in what police are calling a horrific human trafficking case, Sunday, July 23, 2017, in San Antonio. [Associated Press]
  5. Email warning ignored before St. Pete started spewing sewage

    Water

    ST. PETERSBURG — A draft report lays blame for the city's sewage crisis squarely on the administration of Mayor Rick Kriseman and a cascading series of errors that started with the now infamous shuttering of the Albert Whitted Water Reclamation Facility in 2015.

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September 2016 to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage from the city's overwhelmed sewer system. St. Petersburg dumped up to 200 million gallons of sewage over 13 months from 2015-16. A new state report blames much of the crisis on mistakes made by the administration of Mayor Rick Kriseman, but also critcizes past administrations. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]