Monroe County: Sparta Museums

Local News

FOX 25/48 is celebrating Monroe County this week. As part of our county by county series, we’ll feature important parts of the area and show you what it has to offer. Tonight, FOX 25/48’s Erin O’Brien travels to Sparta and explains how one building is home to two museums, both honoring Monroe County’s roots.

Two museums in one spot, the heart of Sparta. The first floor of this building is home to the Monroe County local history room.

“We are the county history museum and we also have a research library. So in our museum we collect old things to tell stories about the past. What we try to do is connect people to county history in a meaningful, relevant way. We do that through changing exhibits, through history programs, and through our research library.”

The museum honors those who made Monroe County what it is today, people like farmers, members of the military, and business leaders.  And when you venture upstairs you’ll find the Deke Slayton space and bike museum.

Bicycles and space might seem like a strange mix for a museum, but if you’re from Sparta, it makes sense. Not only is Sparta the bicycling capital of America, but it was also home to Deke Slayton, one of America’s first astronauts. The museum has a variety of memorabilia from Slayton’s personal life and his career.

“We have many plaques and different ribbons and things of his achievements and we have his original 1959 space suit on loan to us from NASA.”

And in the same room you’ll find dozens of bicycles ranging in size and style.

“So we combined the subject matter. We have bikes then we do planes and then we do space. And the wright brothers actually did own a bike shop before they invented their plane in 1903, so we combined it all together as a progression of transportation.”

Both museums are open Monday through Saturday.

In Sparta, Erin O’Brien, FOX 25/48 News at 9.

Keep watching First News at 9 this week as FOX 25/48 continues to highlight special parts of Monroe County, and be sure watch Saturday, September 3rd at 6:00 PM for a 30-minute special on the area. For more information visit wiproud.com and head to the County by County page.

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