Clay museum offers reward and has re-grand opening after theftUHRICHSVILLE -- The Uhrichsville Clay Museum has become stronger and more committed to its mission and future vision despite a devastating pair of thefts that resulted in losing approximately 50 rare artifacts from it historical collection that represent the local clay heritage of southern Tuscarawas, once the Clay Capital of the World.First, a reward of $1,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of persons involved in the break-in and theft. These funds have been contributed anonymously by a strong supporter of the Museum. Anyone with this information is encouraged to contact the Uhrichsville Police at (740) 922-4783.If there can be anything good to come out of a theft, Wendy Zucal, Director of the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum that operates the Clay Museum, shares that it has been the attention and publicity it has brought to the museum. Proving this point, Zucal said she has received calls from museums in Cleveland, from an Ohio State University professor, antique dealers and even an Ohio State Supreme Court Justice who's wife operates antique stores in the Short North of Columbus. All have shared their concern and their willingness to keep watch for the artifacts.The museum's goal is to get the artifacts back. Toward that end, Zucal explained that museum staff, Museum Advisory Committee members, residents and museum supporters have created a team to keep watch on antique malls, Ebay, Craigs-List and other places they believe the artifacts may show up. A statewide Theft Alert was sent to all Ohio Museums. The local police and Bureau of Criminal Investigation have been working hard on the case. Some of the items stolen from Union Cemetery were found and returned, and that gives hope to the Clay museum.Next, the Clay museum will have a "Re-Grand Opening Event" on Wednesday, March 24 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Clay museum which is located at 330 N. Main St., Uhrichsville. Admission is free and the public is welcome to come and learn about the artifacts and history. Jack Adamson, renowned sewer pipe clay collector and expert from Zoar will be on hand to speak to the public. He was instrumental in getting the stolen items back to Union Cemetery. Refreshments will be served.Lastly, the unfortunate thefts will not stop the Clay Museum Advisory Committee from moving forward, but instead, has acted as a catalyst to take advances in their plans to build a permanent home for the collection. Currently, the Museum shares the North Main Street building with the Claymont Community Center , who graciously has allowed the museum to set up their temporary home in their facility. The plan has always been to move to a larger, permanent facility.The Advisory Committee plans to renovate the Nickels Bakery Building, formerly the Quimby Bakery also on North Main Street, into the permanent Clay museum. The 11,000-square feet industrial structure will be large enough to allow the Museum to expand, display a kiln, conduct children's activities such as laying their own clay pipeline and making clay tiles, as well as space for permanent and feature exhibit space. The large structure is being planned to double as a reception -- event hall, providing critical additional income to support the museum.The Advisory Committee has established a special fund, the "Clay all the Way Building Fund" to renovate the property, and plan to complete the project in phases.Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund can make donations to the Uhricshville Clay Museum, P.O. Box 11, Dennison, OH 44621.The Museum has also embarked on a Membership Program. Anyone interested in supporting the Museum's activities can join as a member by contacting the Museum or by visiting the Museum's booth at the upcoming Home and Garden Show to be held at New Towne Mall.Lastly, Zucal said that they have taken strong measure to secure the current building with an overall security system. She encourages local folks to come to the re-grand opening to learn about this important piece of local history and why people are molesting our cemeteries, breaking into our museums, and robbing our neighbor's yards to get their hands on it.Members of the Uhrichsville Clay Museum Advisory Committee include:Uhrichsville Mayor Rick Reiger, Marge Shelley, Christine Hasseman, Mick Donato, Michele Grant, Patty Johnson, Marge Jentes, Mary Ellen Campbell, Teri Edwards, Mark Willard , Dana Martini, and Wendy Zucal. Museum Director is Reba Allen. The Clay museum s hours of operation are Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information, contact the Dennison Depot at (740) 922-6776 or e-mail depot@tusco.net.