O’Fallon Historical Museum welcomes new curator

By Shannon Johnson

This month the O’Fallon Historical Museum is welcoming a new Museum Curator to their staff. Melissa Rost is a fifth generation Fallon County resident with a passion for artifacts and the stories that they hold. “My great great grandpa homesteaded between Baker and Ollie,” she explained. As the curator, Rost will be doing a little bit of everything from housekeeping, to giving tours, to marketing, and preserving the artifacts that are in the museum.

Rost graduated from Baker High School and attended college at Dawson Community College where she obtained her associates degree. She continued her education later in life at Ashford University to get her bachelor’s degree in education studies.

Throughout her years, Rost has worked in multiple settings from working as a para at the school to housekeeping and hospitality. Along with that, she also has a passion for music and the ability to play multiple instruments, piano being her favorite. Her musical talent paved the way for her to become a private music teacher for many years.

Rost has never considered herself a history buff, but she has always found herself intrigued by stories. “Everything in my house, all of my furniture and everything on my walls has a story and I love that. I come from a long line of story tellers,” Rost laughed. “To be able to be here and to hear other people’s stories as they come in and pass them on and just learn about the history and be able to pass on those stories is just absolutely fascinating.”

Rost has been spending some of her time getting to know the artifacts in the building and the history behind them. “My favorite spot so far has been the photo room because I love seeing the old photos of Baker,” she explained. “I really like the two headed calf. I just think he’s so cute.”

Rost has a lot of ideas for the museum. They have been considering doing seasonal exhibits that would rotate, expanding the gift shop, and doing some cross-generational activities. “We had ten kids come over last Friday and make butter in mason jars,” she said. She also plans to offer more on social media and has been daydreaming of museum theatre.

Rost finds herself intensely interested in the history of the area. “It’s so impressive how hardy people had to be,” she exclaimed. “There were some strong people that came here to be able to set out with no roads and no lights and those things and what it meant to homestead here, to build your house in the literal middle of nowhere with no amenities. That impresses me.”

Rost is excited to get settled into her new position, bring some more life to the history of this area, to bring new activities to the area. “There are days already in the three weeks that I’ve been here I show up and I’m like ‘They pay me to do this? This is so cool,’” she smiled.