The weather may be cold outside, but things are heating up inside the FFA Historical & Ag Museum in La Porte City. New Director Emily Nelson and museum staff members are already hard at work preparing for a new season and are looking for ways to capture people’s interest.

Perhaps the easiest way of going about that task is to just ask. That’s why, on Thursday night at 6:30, members of the community are invited to be guests of the museum for an evening of soup and conversation. This informal gathering will give people an opportunity to meet the new director and learn about some of the upcoming exhibits that are being planned. The conversations that take place will allow people to share what they know about La Porte City, and more importantly, what they’re interested in learning more about.

As the excitement for a new season continues to build, Nelson wants the community to know that their contributions and participation are an important part of the museum’s mission. La Porte City’s rich history has many stories to tell and she wants to make sure that when area residents visit the museum, their heritage is somehow reflected in the exhibits on display.

The FFA Historical & Ag Museum has an extensive collection of artifacts and other treasures that have been collected over the years. Nelson, who worked as an interpretive park ranger at Glacier National Park before relocating to La Porte City last fall, would like to continue broadening the museum’s collection and utilize the contributions area residents have to offer. She is particularly interested in finding out what topics, places and time periods are of interest to the public so that more community-oriented programming and projects can be offered.

Plans are underway to utilize the entryway of the museum as a community space where an exhibit of historic photographs will be enhanced with current, local photography. A rotating exhibit featuring some of the museum’s historic artwork will also greet patrons as they enter the museum. Nelson is looking forward to working with the art instructors at the high school and elementary school so that student creations can be displayed there, as well.

The museum is currently accepting donations of old farm or farm-related toys, games and puzzles that are suitable for kids. They will become part of the museum’s new kid-friendly activity area that is being established. To make a donation, contact Emily Nelson at 319-415-0624. Items can also be dropped off at the museum on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM.