Summer hours begin for Zeeland's Dekker-Huis Museum - June 6, 2014




Zeeland Historical Society members are marking the group's 40th year with glee.


Visitors to Dekker-Huis Museum, run by the society, will find a display showcasing life circa 1974; summer hours have begun; some exhibits are designed to be hands-on for kids.


Since the society first started, volunteers have established, filled and run the museum as well as purchased and renovated the historic New Groningen Schoolhouse, a $350,000 project.


Volunteer Chris Harwood is redesigning, with new features already visible to the public. And Donkersloot's neighbor and new board member, Thom Parker, volunteered to set up the society's Facebook and Twitter accounts.


Parker, who retired from his history teaching job at Holland Public Schools in January, also suggested a fun campaign, called "40 Objects in 40 Weeks." Parker said he was inspired by a Smithsonian book, "101 Objects that Made America."


If you go

WHAT Dekker-Huis Museum

WHERE 37 E. Main Ave., Zeeland

WHEN Summer hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. Other hours by appointment only

COST Admission is free, but donations are always welcome, said museum manager and curator Suzy Frederick

DETAILS Call (616) 772-4079 or email


"Who knows how long Facebook and Twitter will last — but maybe someday someone can have access to these accounts. Hopefully some of the school will pick it up and see what their grandmas and grandpas did in the past," he said.


Working with the Dekker-Huis Museum manager and curator, Suzy Frederick, "we mapped out ideas, scanned some things and have taken some photos," he said. The "40 Objects" campaign started at the end of March, with sports history on Zeeland native and former MLB pitcher and future hall of famer Jim Kaat.


Parker also flipped through "Chase's Calendar of Events" to find International Museum Day (May 18), Log Cabin Day (June 29) and National Donut Day (today) as topics you can expect to see online. For Log Cabin Day, Parker will share details on the museum's log cabin display. And the Zeeland Bakery will get attention today, he said.


In between the "40 Objects" posts, Parker looks for other fun facts.


"The nice thing about Twitter," he said, "is you'll see things about one-room schoolhouses or Eames furniture and Herman Miller, so I retweet those."


Sara Donkersloot, leading the society's 40th anniversary committee, said later this month she'll share details of a community celebration being planned.


Parker, who grew up near Niles but has lived in Zeeland for decades, said he feels very blessed "to live in a community where they have a nice museum and a refurbished schoolhouse. ... A passionate group met 40 years ago and look how far they've come — and how much community support there is."


Frederick said New Groningen's adopt-a-desk fundraiser continues. About half of the 29 desks have already been adopted for $100, which includes a brass plaque. The school is used for educating children but also includes a kitchen and can be rented for meetings and conferences, she said.