Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Darke County Historical Society Presents Heritage Award to Marilyn Robbins

John Marchal, President of the Darke County Historical Society, Marilyn Robbins, award recipient, and Clay Johnson, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Garst Museum.
Marilyn Robbins, a.k.a. “Garst’s Annie Oakley” truly epitomizes the Heritage Award. Established in 2004, the Darke County Historical Society’s Heritage Award was created to recognize outstanding citizens or organizations for their distinguished contributions or actions of unusual excellence that help connect people to Darke County’s past.

Marilyn’s volunteering in the community connects people to Darke County’s past, especially that of Annie Oakley. Clay Johnson, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Garst Museum notes, “As Executive Director of the Darke County Historical Society and Garst Museum, it is a great pleasure and truly an asset to have such a kind, knowledgeable, and dedicated volunteer working at the museum. Her years of research into Annie Oakley has led to a very respected reputation not only for the museum’s National Annie Oakley Center but for Marilyn as well. Her genuine caring for the museum is seen daily in her work for the Historical Society’s Board of Directors as well as so many other volunteer activities. Darke County is fortunate to have such a wonderful person.”

Marilyn’s volunteering at Garst Museum includes docenting as Annie to tracking memberships in her Darke County Historical Society Executive Committee Board member role to accessioning artifacts at the Museum. Along with other volunteers, she puts in endless hours to make sure all of the museum’s collection is properly accounted for. Last year alone, Marilyn volunteered at Garst in many capacities for a total of 395 hours. Since 2006, she has put in 2996 hours!

Marilyn joined the Annie Oakley Center Foundation last year and has already contributed greatly. She is able to answer the many questions posed to the Foundation from school children to published authors, generated from their website or Facebook page.

In 2006, Marilyn compiled Annie’s autobiography, a collection of newspaper articles that Annie wrote and then director Toni Seiler transcribed. This has become a definitive work because it is a primary source of “Annie’s words.” Continuing her desire to convey the correct memory of Annie Oakley, last year, Marilyn compiled correspondence of Annie and Frank’s. With the staff’s efforts in word processing, this latest volume became a welcome addition in the series. Future plans include a book of poems that Frank wrote to Annie. Marilyn’s publications, especially the first volume, have been sold all over the world and to people who research or write longer works or novels about Annie. Marilyn does the legwork and coordinates the printing and publication and it shows her true commitment as a self-published author.

Bringing history to the people has also been accomplished by her volunteering at the Darke County Park District. Laura Schwieterman, Park District Volunteer coordinator said, “Marilyn assisted in the Log House with the Maple Syrup Festival, Prairie Days, Candlelight Dinner on the Prairie (where she led a demonstration on cooking in the cabin) and school programs. While dressed in period clothing in the cabin, Marilyn assisted with the cooking and welcoming the public to the Log House. Laura added, “Marilyn is always willing to help when needed and is very dedicated to complete the task that is on her plate.”

“This is really what she likes to do. It keeps her very busy and active and she loves it.” Daughter Tammy Brandon, who works at the Darke County Chamber of Commerce stated. Her daughter added, “Everything she’s done since she retired has been with the Museum. She did some things at the Park – mostly involved with the different events.” Marilyn is also involved with the Friends of Greenville Public Library.

Congratulations, Marilyn, on your well-deserved recognition.

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