For Catherine Goodwin, moving to Newton and becoming the new director of the Harvey County Historical Museum has been quite a change.

"It's a whole new ballgame," Goodwin said.

Goodwin grew up in Lebo, a small town of around 1,000 people located east of Emporia. One of the few things her hometown and Newton have in common, she remarked, are the trains pass through and blowing their horns — a sound she can clearly hear from her office in the Harvey County Historical Museum.

Previously a curator at the Coffey County Historical Museum, Goodwin started as director of the Harvey County Historical Museum in April and said she appreciates how museums bring together individuals with a shared interest in history.

"You get to mingle and introduce yourself to people who are just like you," Goodwin said.

From the beginning, she was impressed with the spirit of collaboration in the Newton community.

"I think that's a part of the job that I'm learning — we have to be out and about," Goodwin said. "...At home, we were on our own. Here, we're everywhere — it's fun to meet different people and see what's going on."

Goodwin said the Harvey County Historical Museum's staff has been an integral part of her introduction to the history and landmarks of the area.

"Kris (Schmucker) has been so cool, she's been a tour guide and has taken me all over the place," Goodwin said. "We'll talk about a place and I'll ask, 'where is that?' She says, 'we'll go drive by it.'"

Goodwin is also picking up local history by researching it for the tour groups who come through the museum.

"I'm super stoked because we have some tours coming up," Goodwin said. "...That's fun — I can learn with them while I'm teaching them about what I learned."

Goodwin is especially eager to bring as many young people into the museum as she can in order to spark an appreciation for history.

"We need to have kids come in here and experience the love of history," Goodwin said.

Her own passion for historical artifacts started when she was young and Goodwin has passed that along to her son.

"It has to be planted early," Goodwin said. "You have to get that going so people can grow (up) with it, because it's always growing. It's going to continue. It may evolve in different aspects, but it's not going anywhere."

Goodwin also noted that only a small portion of the museum's artifacts are on display and that she and her staff can answer questions and locate items related to many areas of interest.

Goodwin looks forward to both keeping what visitors appreciate about the museum in place and implementing new ideas for future exhibits in her new role as the director of the Harvey County Historical Museum.

"I'm really excited to grab ahold of that and go with it," Goodwin said.

The Harvey County Historical Museum, located at 203 N. Main St. in Newton, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every first and third Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://hchm.org or call 316-283-2221.