The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 1, 2013

Jo Ellis: A bluebird spring and other activities fill the agenda in Carthage

By Jo Ellis
Globe Columnist

CARTHAGE, Mo. — We are awaiting a blessed event at the Ellis homestead.

Considering our age, some of you may be “twittering” (the old definition of that word) about that statement, but it’s no April Fools’ Day joke.

Our bluebirds have returned to their nesting box.

During the latter part of last week, we observed them stuffing grasses and twigs into the box. By Friday morning, a quick peek revealed it was ready for occupancy. Another check Saturday morning after that nice rain was disappointing, however. There were no little blue eggs yet. I consoled myself with the thought that no smart mama would lay eggs in a wet nest.

As usual, I was too impatient. Later I saw both mama and papa working zealously, bringing more building material to the box every three to four minutes. Apparently these are very particular bluebirds. One time they were both inside together — something I had never seen before.

They didn’t stay inside long. I surmised that she had invited his advice. He went in, took a cursory look and said, “Why ask me? You’ll do what you want to anyway.” That’s exactly my husband’s reaction when I ask his advice on a decorating issue. (Secretly, gals, don’t we love it that way?)

This time of year is the best for bird-watching. The birds are always so busy, and with the trees still bare of leaves, their activities are easy to follow.

But enough of me whiling away my Saturday morning bird-watching. I want to tell you about some interesting events happening in Carthage.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, Tom Hilton will give a piano concert at First United Methodist Church. It will be a mix of popular and classical pieces. Those who have heard his piano renderings before have praised him highly.

Hilton is a Carthage native and was a student of the late Bob Harris, a longtime music teacher in Carthage schools. Hilton now lives in Kansas City and periodically plays for a Baptist mega-church in Raytown. The concert is sponsored by Carthage Musical Devotees.

Want to know what is involved in running a museum? The Powers Museum has just opened for its spring season, March 27-May 27, and will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of its founding in June. The April program will be an interactive experience based on how exhibits are created. Visitors may participate in planning, research, construction and preparing artifacts for display.

The opening exhibit in the main gallery will hark back to the museum’s first exhibit in June 1988: “Out of Boxes, Trunks and Drawers — A Museum Collection Is Created.” The exhibit debuts May 1, the birth date of Marion Winchester Powers, whose financial bequest and family collections founded the museum.

All Powers Museum exhibits rotate annually and feature local and Missouri history. There are no permanent exhibits, so things are always changing. Hours for the spring season are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Director Michelle Hansford said under way is a digitization project to place 2,000 artifacts and archival pieces online before the anniversary date in June. The project is funded by grants from the Carthage Community Foundation and the State Historical Society of Missouri, and staffed by volunteers. If you are interested in assisting (which can be done off site), you may contact Hansford at 417-237-0456.

Address correspondence to Jo Ellis, c/o The Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email