The Galt Area Historical Society celebrated its 35th anniversary on Nov. 12, inviting the public to tour the Rae House Museum and look back on its own history in Galt and the surrounding communities.

The society was founded in 1987 by Eugenia Olson, Orvell Fletcher, Margaret Greer and Beatrice Orr Smithson with a focus on preserving artifacts of the area’s past.

“I think this is a great organization,” President Janis Barsetti Gray said. “We’ve had a lot of great volunteers through the years, and we’ve obviously taken on many projects, this (the Rae) being one of them. When we got this house, it was in almost disrepair, as was the (McFarland Living History Ranch), so we’ve done a lot of work.”

Barsetti Gray said it is “very rewarding” to see the results of the society’s labor.

When the Rae House and the surrounding property were sold to a developer, the society managed to acquire and preserve the building. It began restoration work in 1989. On that first day of work, society member Tom Walters worked to remove plywood boards that had been fixed over the windows and doors to protect the house from vandals.

“When the restoration of the house is complete, the house will be a museum showcasing Galt’s history,” the Herald reported at the time.

The group at first outfitted the Rae to look like a period home, but recently, it redid the interior with exhibits about the past of the Galt area. The society emphasizes that it covers not just Galt but also several nearby communities: Arno, Clay, Colony, Elliott, Herald, Hicksville, Liberty and Thornton.

Showing attendees through the Rae, the society’s historian, Dan Tarnasky, said he had recently added a few items to the displays, including a vintage cash register donated by Galt Supermarket. He had also received a 1952 Galt High School letterman jacket and brick from the building that previously housed Galt High School.

One of the society’s current big projects is the restoration of Liberty Schoolhouse, which is sitting in the parking lot at the Rae.

Barsetti Gray said it is important to preserve the area’s history so it can be appreciated by youth and future generations.

“I think we’ve done a good job of documenting it and trying to help where we can to save things,” she said. Barsetti Gray noted the society is always accepting donations, in the form of money, volunteer time, or labor to help with restorations. Learn more about the society at