Film crew from Travel Channel show visits Stuhr Museum

As the curator at Stuhr Museum, Kari Stofer is a fan of the television show “Mysteries at the Museum.”

She might be following the Travel Channel’s long-running series a little more closely now that a production crew from the program visited Stuhr last month.

A crew of three filmed there during a two-day stop in Grand Island in March. Stofer said she was contacted in February by a producer from New York interested in coming to the museum for one antique in particular — a feed grinder from the 1920s.

The Letz Manufacturing Company mixed feed maker is on permanent display in the farm machinery building and has been at the museum for years. It was originally owned by a man from Waverly.

The tractor-powered piece of equipment, which measures 9½ feet long and 6½ feet wide, was used by farmers to grind and mill feed. The patent date on the Letz the production crew filmed is from 1922.

Stofer said there are only a few of the machines left. That is why Stuhr Museum popped onto the radar of the producer.

“The reason they came all the way to Nebraska is there aren’t many (feed grinders) that exist now because they were used so much. The only one they could find was in Grand island,” she said.

A big effort has been made over the past few years to use social media and the internet to publicize the old-time farm equipment at the museum. Stofer said it seems like that effort paid off because the producer found the museum and the grinder by doing an internet search. That prompted the producer to contact Stofer to ask to film there.

Mike Bockoven, Stuhr Museum marketing director, said the opportunity to be part of the show is nice for the museum.

“It’s always good to get national exposure,” Bockoven said. “We are very glad at any point to talk about our history with anyone who wants to know about it.”

The museum has been featured on television before, most often on NETV.

“Mysteries at the Museum” features museum artifacts and usually ties them to an unusual story about that piece.

Stofer didn’t want to spoil the story, but did say the grinder was used to accidentally invent a product that would be surprising for people to know.

There hasn’t been a release date announcement for when the show featuring Stuhr Museum will air. Stofer did say they will get a copy of the episode under the signed usage agreement.

She hopes the impression the crew got of Grand Island and the museum will tempt them to return for another visit.

“They planned on coming for a couple hours on March 3, but they were there most of the day,” Stofer said.

Not only was the grinder filmed, but so were various other exhibits. Stofer said the crew was fascinated by the whole museum, Grand Island and the area in general. They told her during their stay that they also planned to see the sandhill cranes and stop by a rodeo that was in town.

“I was really excited about it,” Stofer said of the experience. “I’m more excited that hopefully they were so impressed that they will want to come back.”

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