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A big step for museum

January 10, 2019

Norfolk’s Elkhorn Valley Museum is brimming with interesting and historically significant displays and artifacts. But there’s no question that the centerpiece of the museum — its drawing card — is the Johnny Carson exhibit.

After all, how many other local museums based in communities of about 25,000 people can boast of an extensive exhibit of one of the most famous and revered television entertainers of all time? Johnny wasn’t proclaimed as the “king of late-night television” for no reason.

That’s why Norfolkans should be excited and supportive of the new effort to update the museum’s Carson exhibit.

Last month, museum representatives unveiled plans to renovate the display, making it more interactive and up to date at a cost of about $500,000. Those associated with the museum who are helping with the fundraising effort already have had success in gaining gifts and pledges of a significant amount toward that monetary goal.

What’s especially encouraging is the continued involvement and support offered by Jeff Sotzing, who is Carson’s nephew and the person who has been primarily responsible for dealing with artifacts and memorabilia after Johnny’s death.

Mr. Sotzing paid for the creation of the design for the renovated exhibit — and what an impressive design it is! — and has stated his intention to permanently give the Carson items to the museum as compared to being on permanent loan status.

A successful fund drive will help ensure that the Elkhorn Valley Museum continues to be a drawing card for many years to come for those who fondly recall watching Johnny on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” for 30 years. The exhibit will allow for better display of the many donated items.

The added bonus is the fact that while the Carson exhibit will be what draws visitors to the museum, once in the doors, they’ll also see the many other impressive displays that are part of the Norfolk facility.

It’s a win-win situation.

Offering financial support for the Carson exhibit fund drive would be a smart decision for those who are able to contribute.

Norfolk has much to be proud of, and the connection with Johnny Carson is certainly part of that.

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