Anyone who has visited the Pope County Museum and spent anytime in the “Pioneer Room” at a meeting or looking through files has undoubtedly noticed the large ferns.
We have 2 pots containing HUGE Boston Ferns. They both pieces of the “Alma Signalness Fern.”
Alma Signalness was born January 1, 1891 and died December 28, 1913. The young woman had just proved up a homestead claim and was engaged to be married.
In 1919, Alma’s parents gave her fern to the Pope County Courthouse in her memory. In 1968, the fern moved to the new Pope County Museum were it has resided ever since.
It has been divided and re-potted several times over the years.
We have been talking about dividing and re-potting one of the ferns for a few years, but hadn’t made it a priority. Until this week.
On Wednesday, I bumped the plant stand and the fern tumbled to the floor, shattering the pot. OOPS!
I got the fern into a tub an picked up the pieces of the pot.
I had always believed that the fern was an accessioned artifact, so I was especially mortified to have damaged part of our museum collection. It turns out it is not an official artifact, and it really did need re-potting any way.
Merlin brought in new pots and divided the fern into several pieces. We will keep one for the museum, and probably make the other pieces available at our December silent auction. Wouldn’t you like to own part of a 100+ year old fern with such an interesting story?
Here is a photo of the fern from 1914, just after Alma passed away. It was clearly important to her and her family.