By COREY NOLES
Statesman Staff Writer
BLOOMFIELD, Mo. - The Stars & Stripes Museum/Library at Bloomfield has made some changes to its schedule.
Effective immediately, the museum will no longer be open on Sunday afternoons.
The decision is not due to financial reasons, but because Sunday traffic is quite slow.
Of the 11 or so volunteers, the ones who work on Sundays decided that it was slow enough on those days that someone shouldn't have to be there all afternoon.
The museum will, however, still be available by appointment on Sundays.
The majority of the museum's traffic, according to longtime museum librarian Sue Mayo, comes during the week in the form of groups.
She said that group traffic has picked up lately, but mentioned that they are always looking to bring more in.
Mayo encouraged all area school districts to call the museum and set up a time to bring their students.
"This museum is such a valuable source of history for our area," she said. "It's wonderful to see students coming in and learning about our history."
The museum, which operates entirely on donations and volunteer labor, has seen some financial struggles over the years, but they remain optimistic about the future.
One common misconception regarding the museum is that there is some type of funding coming in on a regular basis, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
Mayo pointed out that all donations are appreciated. While times are somewhat better now, the museum is always in need of assistance.
The impact of this small museum nestled in the hills of Stoddard County has been far-reaching and often under-appreciated.
To date, more than 50,000 people have toured the museum since moving to its current location in 1998, bringing countless dollars not only to Bloomfield, but across the area.
The workers at the museum are remaining busy even in the winter months as they help the community and continue to offer new exhibits and memorabilia.
The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve has set up a Toys for Tots dropbox at the museum. Individuals are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys to the museum to be given to needy children in the area.
Also, the museum has recently received a sizable number of bound volumes of the Stars & Stripes newspaper dating from 1954-55 and 1961. The editions are all from the Pacific edition based in Tokyo.
Mayo said they were excited about the donation because they are editions they did not already have.
For more information regarding group tours, hours and ways to donate to the Stars & Stripes Museum/Library, call 573-568-2055.