Costigan donates $52K to Carter House

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Elkader’s Carter House Museum recently accepted a $52,000 donation from longtime historical society member and history lover Marge Costigan. Costigan (seated) is pictured with Carter House Board Members Jim Walch (left), David Pope, Donna Anderson, Mary Lammers and David Williams. (Submitted photo)

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

 

Longtime member of the historical society, purveyor of history and local treasure Marge Costigan recently donated $52,000 to Elkader’s Carter House Museum, a decision that has roots in her own past—first as someone who studied history and then as someone who taught it. 

 

A strong supporter and advocate of history, Costigan also addressed the constant struggle local museums must overcome in terms of attracting visitors and revenue, which was a sort of sidebar justification for the donation. It’s hard to learn about history if it has no buildings to house it. 

 

History, for Costigan, not only holds a special place personally, but it’s also a subject that needs to be learned. One way people can do that is by visiting local museums, she stressed. 

 

Along with learning history, Costigan also encouraged people to volunteer their time and find ways to involve youth. 

 

On this topic, Costigan spoke about how local schools should have more field trips to local museums and more presentations from museum workers, to encourage kids to learn and study history and get more involved. It’s about showing them what they can do with history and stressing its importance along with other subjects. 

 

“If people learned more history, we would be better off,” Costigan said. 

 

The money, according to the Carter House Museum, was placed in a foundation and the yearly interest generated will be used for continuing expenses. 

 

While Costigan has no direct say in how the museum uses the donation, she admitted she has always wanted the museum to do a “History of Christmas Exhibit,” focusing on a holiday she has always loved with the decorating, memories and, of course, the gift of giving. 

 

And giving is something Costigan has done throughout her life, donating what she can and when she can. She encouraged people locally to donate, not just to support history, but to support the town, as well—to preserve its institutions and history.

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