While Camp Arcadia strives to look to the future as well as to enjoy the present, another big part of the Arcadia experience is to remember its history. This summer, camp will be doing just that with a new exhibit dedicated to the 40 years of service (1922-1963) that the Weiherman family provided for Camp Arcadia.
Archives Director Ryan McKenna is proud to announce that after five years of preparation, “Building a Legacy, 1922-1963: The Weihermans” will open on June 23, 2013. The interactive exhibit will feature authentic artifacts as well as interesting information. It will be a great way to learn more about camp’s history!
Visitors to the exhibit will see over 250 genuine photographs and several interactive displays. There will be videos, audio recordings, and various items for guests to take with them. Guests can also take a seat at Chief’s desk and type up their own name badge on an old typewriter, or act as the Master of Ceremonies, just as Chief loved to do.
Roxie Bureman, granddaughter of Chief and Mom Weiherman, has been working with Ryan to help conserve as much of her family’s history as possible.
“Camp has changed, but it’s also still the same,” said Roxie. “It’s a legacy for my family and for my grandkids.”
Roxie is very excited to be a part of the creative process in the exhibit. As a child, she spent lots of time at camp and hopes that others can see what a special place it is.
“The setting of Camp Arcadia is so perfect. You can feel God’s creation in the trees, the lake, and the flowers,” said Roxie.
Many others are excited as well, especially those who have spent valuable time work with the exhibit.
“After five years of planning, it’s exciting to see Weiherman history coming to life,” said Ryan McKenna. “I’m looking forward to seeing Arcadians’ engagement with the original legacy builders.”
“I’ve really enjoyed working with Archives,” she said. “I got to meet a lot of new people that I would not have gotten to meet otherwise.”
Archives workers are also thankful for the generous donors who have allowed the exhibit to display artifacts from their own past Camp experiences.
“It’s amazing just to look at what people have given,” said Roxie. “It’s odd what people have saved, but we can use it in the exhibit.”
An exciting element of the exhibit is Rinkie Weiherman’s original wedding dress from her wedding on August 15, 1942. Rinkie’s daughters Roxie and Shelley have been working hard to restore the dress to its original glory.
“I’m amazed at how good the dress looks, considering how badly it was stored,” said Roxie.
Shelley Spoeneman wore her mother’s dress in her own wedding, and many years later washed it by hand to ensure its readiness for the exhibit. She is very glad that the dress is available for display, seeing as her mother’s was Camp Arcadia’s first wedding.
Although the task of renewing and displaying the dress may seem tedious, Roxie is thrilled to be able to work on something so special.
“It makes me feel very close to my mother to be working on this project. It was a neat feeling to be able to see it all come together,” she said.
Her sister Shelley shares a similar sentiment of nostalgic excitement in regards to the exhibit.
“I think the Weihermans would be overwhelmed. They never anticipated anything like this. They never realized how much their contribution meant because their goal was just to serve. They believed in the Lutheran cause and were very much servants of the Lord,” she said.
The exhibit officially opened on Sunday, June 23 with a celebration involving classic Arcadia music, delicious food, and speakers including Chip May, Ryan McKenna, Roxie Bureman, and Kyle DeWees. Guests were invited to view the exhibit for the very first time.
“The opening celebration was filled with singing, laughter, tears, Whamburgers and bottled soda, and an overall appreciation for the Weihermans’ 40 years of service,” said Ryan McKenna. “I was delighted that Arcadians of all ages enjoyed the evening celebration.”