High-flying visitors

From left, Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum visitors Debbie Snyder, Jerry Polyash and Julie Goldsten. They flew in from Benton Saturday morning to visit the museum.

ERIC SPRUILL

After having to shut its doors on March 16, the Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum welcomed its first guests in more than two months when three visitors flew to Chanute to take in the sights.

Julie Goldsten, of Benton, read Osa’s book A Wife in Africa several years ago.

“I’ve been here a few times before, but I always wanted to share it with my friends. I have just always found them extremely fascinating. This is a fantastic museum and when I heard it was open, I told Jerry (Palyash) we needed to go and I wanted to bring along my friend Debbie Snider,” she said. “This is a lovely town and the museum makes it a great place for a nice day trip.”

Palyash, who is a pilot, looked up the route and noticed Chanute had an airport with a loaner car. 

“Just a short flight over here with a nice landing strip over here. I have a hangar in Benton so I said let’s do it. I’ve been really impressed with what I have seen so far,” he said.

Snider, the couple’s friend, was very impressed with the museum after just the first 10 minutes.

“One of my best friends lived here and I have visited Chanute several times, but never knew this was here. I have a feeling there are a lot of people who don’t know this is right in their own backyard,” Snider said. “I love museums and I cannot wait to see the rest of this place. The 10-minute introductory video is very interesting and I know I am going to be one of those people who watches the 80 minute video here in a little bit.”

Goldsten said she noticed several changes since the last time she had been there. 

“I see some changes, but I am so excited to tour the museum and take it all in,” she said.

The museum missed out on its peak season, with no visitors on spring break and no class field trips. While they are open on an appointment-only basis, guests are encouraged to call 431-2730 and book a tour.  

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