Museum News Archive


March 15, 2012 - We are opening early this year starting with the D23 Fan Club tour on March 14. The museum will stay open to the public from March 15 through October 31. The museum has been fully refurbished on the inside and we have many new exhibits this year. So please make plans to visit the museum in beautiful Marceline, Missouri! We will be closed on Mondays only.

With the Walt Disney Company returning to Kansas City in 2012 for their annual stockholders meeting, D23, the official Disney fan club, looks toward Marceline for a trip down Walt's memory lane. Take a few minutes to enjoy this wonderful article by Max Lark, entitled The Magic of Marceline.

March 14, 2012 - D23 Members are invited to Journey to Marceline on March 14, 2012 to experience the idyllic Missouri town that inspired Walt to create Main Street, USA!


Museum volunteers have begun their ninth year a little early. The season normally begins on April 1, but a tour bus from Star Destinations near Iowa City, Iowa was granted a special tour on March 27. They were a delight and a wonderful start to our season.

In February, volunteers Inez Johnson, Kaye Malins and Connie Lane represented Marceline at the True/False Film Festival for the two screenings of "Waking Sleeping Beauty" at the Ragtag Cinema and Missouri Theater in Columbia, Missouri. The director, Don Hahn, introduced the Marceline representatives to the packed Ragtag Cinema. We hosted a display table inside the theater featuring photos of Walt Disney visiting Marceline, answered questions and gave out Marceline brochures and business cards.

Museum guests will be thrilled to find a Midget Autopia car still in its original condition exhibited this year. Walt Disney retired the ride in Disneyland and sent it to his hometown Marceline in 1966. The car formerly exhibited had been modified.

We are again grateful to Tom James and Herff Jones Yearbooks for printing brochures promoting Marceline for us. You can pickup the brochures at City Hall, Magnolia Antiques , the Toonfest office and the museum. For more Marceline/Disney information please stop by Magnolia Antiques and Tourist Center located at 209 N. Main Street USA.

Marceline High School Alumni and guests are invited to the museum on May 8 for a pre-party 4:00 p.m. through 6:00 p.m. prior to the Alumni Banquet at the Walsworth Community Building. The newly refurbished Beanery Building and museum will be open for tours free of charge from 10:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m. on May 8. We will be featuring newly acquired photos and artifacts of our railroad story in the Beanery Building. If you have copies of family photos or artifacts you would like to gift to the museum please bring to the museum.

Kaye Malins serves on the Missouri Travel Council and is a founding member of the Missouri Highway 36 Heritage Alliance. This group will promote pro-tourism and educate tourists who travel Highway 36 through Missouri. They are working on travel cd in conjunction with MODOT for the Highway 36 travel experience from Hannibal to St. Joseph, which should be a great tool for tourists. There will be a ribbon cutting planned for July 10 in Macon, Missouri.

We are looking forward to the model train show at the Marceline Masonic Temple in May 1 at 9:00 a.m. As a special treat for the first time we plan to allow train viewing and filming from the second floor of the Walt Disney Hometown Museum with the regular admission charge.

Walt Disney knew how to keep the child alive in all of us. His strong belief in the basic goodness of the human soul translated into delightful, magical fantasies that invoked universal feelings of love, hope and compassion in countless millions of people throughout the world. Few could disagree that his contribution to our heritage was anything less than genius. Through his films Disney takes us on a voyage into lands where good triumphs over evil and dreams really do come true. With the ever present reminder that happiness can be found by all if we just have a little love and hope.

Keeping the Walt Disney legacy alive is the mission of the volunteers at Marceline's Walt Disney Hometown Museum. Having had the opportunity to know Walt Disney and having heard first hand his love for nature and the simple pleasures of life for this rural community he called home; it is no coincidence that these years would influence his life.

Some of you may not know that Walt Disney purchased the family farm in Marceline in 1956, with the intent to preserve the idealistic farm life he held so dear for future generations. His untimely death at the age of 65 prevented his vision from becoming a reality.

From our museum guests we often hear, "Thank you for keeping Walt Disney's childhood legacy alive." We meet the most interesting people at the museum; our guests make it a pleasure to be a volunteer.

Our merry crews of museum volunteers have fun when we aren't at the museum as well. We saw a wonderful stage production of Oklahoma and Church Basement Ladies at the City of Maples Repertory Theatre in Macon. We are fortunate to have such a quality theatre so close to Marceline. Church Basement Ladies really hit home with us as we had all spent time in our church kitchens! We laughed all the way home after that performance! Laughter is the best medicine and Walt Disney's classic The Three Little Pigs was credited with helping the public through the depression when the theme song from the movie "Who is afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" became the rallying cry for the nation during the great depression.

Formed a year ago the "Highway 36 the Way of American Genius" organization has done a wonderful job of promoting tourism venues along and 36 miles either side of Highway 36. Museum volunteers went to the Highway 36 ribbon cutting ceremony in Macon July 10th. It was hot and humid, but an enthusiastic crowd was on hand. Marceline's Ruth and Walt Disney (Sarah Kussman and Cory Sims) shared the stage with other notables as General John J. Pershing, J. C. Penney, Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher, Mark Twain, Theodore Gerry, Johnny Fry the first Pony Express rider and a beautiful hot air balloon from the Pershing Balloon Day's. Also at the ribbon cutting the new "Highway 36 the Way of American Genius" promotional CD was made available for the first time. Through a partnership between MoDOT and Highway 36 Coalition, The Way of American Genius a CD was produced that provides historical and travel information from Hannibal to St. Joseph or St. Joseph to Hannibal and points of interest 36 miles either side of highway 36. These CD's are available at Magnolia Antiques in Marceline and will be available at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in April when we open for the season. For more information about "Highway 36 the Way of American Genius" you can go to their web site at The Walt Disney Hometown Museum, the Tillman Museum in Brookfield and the General John J. Pershing site staffs and volunteers exchanged visits to each property this summer. This helps us to promote each other knowing firsthand what Linn Counties museums have to offer. We are looking forward to visiting the group in Linneus in the future. You would be amazed at what the museums in Linn County have to offer. We all commented, "Isn't it just typical for us to drive great distances to see things when we don't even know what our local sites have to offer."

Did you know that during WWI Walt Disney was a Red Cross ambulance driver and on occasion drove military officers and family while stationed in France? While in France a 16 year old Walt Disney met and drove for General John J. Pershing and his son on several occasions.

Macon county Historical Society visited our Museum in October and our volunteers will tour the Macon County Museum when they open for the 2011 season in the spring. Plans for the elevator to the second floor of the museum are moving forward. Thanks to USDA and an OK from the State Historical Society (DNR) of Missouri and museum benefactors we hope to begin construction on the elevator/lift this winter.

Motor coach tours were popular this year. They included bank, church and tour company groups from as far away as Canada. Museum Director Kaye Malins attends travel shows; the museum board voted to budget for 3 shows this spring, and books the business a year to two years in advance. The groups arrive at the Walsworth Community Building (which they are in awe of) tour the Museum, see a special presentation at the Uptown Theatre, Main Street USA and the Disney Dreaming Tree and Barn. For more information regarding the Museum or tours please visit our website

The 4th of July in Marceline is always a big celebration for our community. Thanks to our firemen who work year round to organize a fun filled week for Marceline residents and our friends from surrounding areas.

Toonfest has become very popular and grows each year. We applaud the volunteers that make this event such a success. Toonfest attracts the "A list" of cartoonist for the symposiums held at the Uptown Theatre and provide a day of family fun in E.P. Ripley Park. And now in partnership with St. Bonaventure Block Party the event keeps getting bigger and better each year. This year for the first time we hosted the guest cartoonist and honored guests for dinner and tour at the Museum. It was a splendid evening which we plan to repeat next year.

Toonfest brings national attention to Marceline and the headliners without exception share their Marceline experiences or their websites. It is amazing the impact our little town has on these world famous cartoonist and animators. The North Central Chapter of the National Cartoonist Society has promoted Toonfest nationally for Marceline and several of its' officers serve on the Toonfest committee. Ma Vic's corner cafe commented that Toonfest was her biggest weekend ever, Sweet Tunes sold out of ice cream and we had a great crowd at the Museum. For more information visit our Toonfest website at

The Great Pershing Balloon Day's was a big weekend for the Museum as well. Our thanks to that committee for all their hard work and the economic boost it brings to our county.

This past July, Kaye Malins was invited to Disneyland to present a "Walk down Main Street USA" for Disneyland cast members. The presentation was given on Disneyland's Main Street USA before the park opened. Kaye spoke of Marceline's Main Street influence when Disneyland opened in 1955 and pointed out the new references to Marceline found at the park. The Hotel Marceline, the Main Street Theatre and Marceline's Confectionery all found at Disneyland. The following day Kaye, Debbie Foster (Uptown Theatre Marceline) and Shirley and Albert Schmidt of Wisconsin (Museum and Toonfest patrons) hosted a Marceline /Walt Disney Hometown Museum information booth at the national Disneyanna Convention held in Garden Grove CA. Over 900 pieces of information were passed out to Disneyanna and National Fantasy Fan Club Members. The Disneyanna Club is planning a special excursion to Marceline next year.

Marceline is blessed with citizens who see things that can be done to improve the appearance of their city, and just do them! Larry and Sharon Ervie cleaned and planted flowers in the lot next to the Uptown Theatre. They also fixed the Welcome to Marceline sign on highway 5. Vacant store fronts were given a new look by Chamber of Commerce volunteers Barb and Bob Boyd, Chris and Dave Ankeney. And thanks should be given to Darrell and Darlene Gardner for their beautiful Main Street USA park. I remember a time when there were no flower pots on Main Street USA now beautiful pots of flowers can be found in front of each business along the street. Located on Main Street USA is the NOMO Art Gallery which hangs 10 new shows each year featuring local and nationally recognized artists.

Early this spring Shane Cavanah and crew cleaned the curbs on Main Street and hauled away the debris. Thanks guys.

Marceline Community Betterment is doing great things for our city. This group of young citizens has a vision for their community and has organized tree plantings at the Country Club Park, family movie night at the Disney Park amphitheatre and scavenger hunts.

The third annual Halloween on Main Street USA sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce attracted 500 little goblins this year. And of course the evening wouldn't be complete without Trunk or Treat at the first Baptist Church and hot dogs at the fire barn hosted by our wonderful volunteer fire department and the VWF. New to the celebration this year were the Bethany Baptist Church and Marceline Community Betterment. Welcome aboard!

The Chamber of Commerce is preparing for the Annual Peanut Night Nov 27th. The Masons and Knights of Columbus will have chili, cookies and drinks for all. Peanuts will be sold on Main Street USA by Chamber members; there will be a live nativity, Yule log, hot cider, and Santa Claus in E. P. Ripley Park. And to everyone's delight our amazing Christmas light display will be turned on for the holiday season. Merchants will stay open late so shoppers can enjoy their holiday decorations and purchase that special gift. For information go the website

Dancing with the Marceline Stars sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce is scheduled for December 10 at the Uptown Theatre. All seats are reserved so get your tickets early at Magnolia Antiques. This event is a fundraiser to defray the costs of new energy efficient Christmas lights for E.P. Ripley Park.

We hear daily from our Museum guests what a lovely little town Marceline is. While we are blessed with wonderful volunteers, we must give a heartfelt "thank you" to the City of Marceline, Marceline City Council, City Manager, staff and crews. Running a city in these times in not easy and we thank you for your dedication to our community.

The Walt Disney Hometown Museum will open for the 2011 season April 1.

Today we are all looking for affordable family events that are close to home. Well, folks come to Marceline, we've got it all!

See you in Marceline!


In 2009 the Beanery Building (Lunch Room) was gutted, new walls and ceiling, electrical wiring plus heat and air conditioning were added. The building will be the home of additional railroad and coal mining exhibits. We have been gifted with pictures and artifacts that will tell and preserve Marceline's story.

Also in the past year we have had to replace some of the point tucking done in 2000 which was faulty allowing moisture to seep through. This expenditure of $17,000 has caused some of our plans to be delayed.

Dale Varner the artist of the Disneyland Miniature exhibited on the second floor died in 2009. He was working on additional pieces which were shipped to us and are included in the exhibit.

Ted Beecher, son of Ruth Disney, a big contributor of Disney artifacts died in 2009 too. His Disneyana Fan Club in Clackamas, Oregon planted a tree in his memory in our museum garden.

Judith McClure of Warrensburg gifted our museum with her late husband, Arthur McCure's Disney collection. He was a professor of history and anthropology at Central Missouri State in Warrensburg. The public will enjoy his collection for years to come as they visit our museum.

In the fall we were gifted old Marceline newspapers dating from 1888 (Marceline's founding) through 1963 which are a treasure of information. Because we are seeking accurate data concerning coal mining, railroad and Disney matters, they have been our main focus. Paul and Kathy Stark, John and Beverly Klumb, Lois Buckman and Inez Johnson were the readers. Articles of interest were copied and Deanna Lisac compiled each category in chronological order for easy reference. The main things we all observed were the large amount of advertising, the way obituaries were written and the constant reminders to shop at home. With the arrival of the AT&SF Railroad in 1886 Marceline mushroomed both with population and tax dollars.


Disney Elementery Third Graders Marceline, MO June 2008 Cheryl Cavanah - Volunteer Walt Disney's Hometown Museum is in full operation for the 2008 season. It is a joy to meet the tourists from all over the world and to share our town. We are closed on Monday, but special hours can be arranged for groups of 25 or more.

Herff Jones Yearbooks has again gifted Marceline with new brochures. They are available at the museum, the Marceline City Hall as well as most stores. Thank you Tom James for this fine donation.

During the winter months additional rooms on the second floor of the museum have been restored with new plastering and electrical wiring. The rooms will be climate controlled soon and will be the home of future exhibits. A new handicap ramp is in place between the baggage and Santa Fe rooms.

The long awaited miniature of Disneyland has arrived and will be exhibited soon. The artist Dale Varner of Portland, OR has spent most of his life creating the masterpiece of the original Disneyland. It is sure to be admired and appreciated by all who view it. Ted and Carol Beecher of Portland assisted with the packing of this intricate collection. Ted is the son of Ruth Disney, Walt's only sister. The Beechers have been very generous to Marceline donating many of the Disney artifacts you will find at the museum for the enjoyment and education of Disney fans from all over the world.

Because Walt Disney premiered the Midwest showing of the Great Locomotive Chase in Marceline's Uptown Theatre in 1956, the museum now houses a display of memorabilia from the movie.

Marceline High School alumni gathered at the museum on May 10 for Greg Walton's annual reception for all graduates, spouses and friends. Many attended and appreciated the occasion to rekindle old friendships and make new ones. Thank you Greg!

The museum gift shop is well stocked with Marceline souvenirs, Disney items, shirts and books. You do not have to tour the museum to come in and shop, which is open to the public during our regular museum hours, Tuesday through Sunday.

Throughout the season the museum hosts many school groups. Third graders from Walt Disney Elementary School of Marceline recently visited the museum on June 17. They were told about Walt Disney, and his life in Marceline as well as how Marceline became a town because of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. One of the enthusiastic students commented, "This is really history!"

The flowers are in full bloom at the Rush Johnson Memorial Garden located at the entrance to the museum. Come by, sit and enjoy the serenity of our beautiful flower garden and the sound of the fountain's flowing water.

You are invited to spend the day in Marceline! Enjoy the museum, specialty and antique shops, an art gallery, restaurants and the best new homemade ice cream shop on Main Street U.S.A.

Sunday, July 13 the museum gave a tour to 25 members of the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) American Heartland - Kansas City Chapter.

For the first time since the 1930's there are Wolf River apples ripening on the Disney Farm in Marceline, Missouri. The trees, a gift from Disney author Dan Viet's were planted in 2003.


Through a grant submitted by Dr. Wesley J. Green and approved by Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia Kentucky Dr. Greene and 2 of his students Wes Hamilton and Joe Collins recently spent 3 days in Marceline developing news letters for the Walt Disney Hometown Museum and for the Annual Walt Disney Toonfest celebration.

This is the second grant written by Dr. Green that has benefited the museum in May of 2005 he and 2 of his students spent a week in Marceline researching a business plan for the museum. In case you haven't guessed Dr. Green is a HUGE Disney fan. We feel honored to have him as part of our Marceline family.

Tracy Jennings and Michael McNick from The Dallas Fort Worth area spent their Easter Holiday in Marceline volunteering at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum. They arrived just in time to scrape the ceiling and walls of the room being fitted for a film studio at the museum. Tracy is the President of his local NFFC chapter and you might recognize Michael as the King of Disney trivia. While they were here they sampled the famous Marceline ice cream treat "Dusty Miller" I believe they plan to serve it at their next NFFC event. Thanks for all of the help guy's! 

March 15, Andy Neitzert a film student from CA arrived in Marceline to film for a documentary titled Walt Disney's Missouri. During his two week stay he interviewed over 120 Marceline residents, many of whom had met Walt Disney and had great stories to share. Andy will be returning to Marceline to film the annual 4th of July celebration and Walt Disney's Hometown Toonfest September 15. The intended length of the final film will 80 minutes and will be screened at private screenings and film festivals.

Andy is also providing the filmed interviews for the Walt Disney Hometown archives. Andy hopes to open a studio in Marceline.

Through a grant from the AT&T Foundation the Walt Disney Hometown Museum has recently purchased video, sound, lighting and editing equipment. And set up a permanent studio at the museum. Since the opening of the museum many our guests have shared their Disney story with our museum hosts. We were concerned that these untold Disney stories would be lost unless we provided a way to capture them. Through the AT&T grant and a huge volunteer effort we now have a studio at the museum. Eisterhold and Associates from Kansas City Missouri advised us on the purchase of equipment set up of the studio how to film, interview, archive and edit the interviews.