A miniature wind turbine, created in Denmark, has been donated to the Pratt County Historical Museum for educational purposes.
There are hundreds of wind turbines now dotting the High Plains landscape in and near Pratt County, but there is only one smaller version in existence and it resides at the Pratt County Historical Museum, courtesy of NextEra Energy and Siemens Gamesa.
Conlan Kennedy, NextEra Communications Specialist from Florida, came to Pratt on Tuesday to take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony with board members of the historical museum celebrating the installation and opening of the museum's miniature wind-turbine exhibit.
"Wind technology is the second fastest growing job in the United States now," Kennedy said. "We are happy to partner with the museum to teach our young people about the resources and opportunities associated with wind energy. Pratt seemed like the best place to have this kind of display, as we are putting in the Pratt Wind Farm here and have been welcomed to the community in so many ways."
The miniature wind turbine now on display in Pratt stands about 6-feet tall and has proportional turning blades, powered by hidden electrical cords and outlets. The replica was made in Denmark and donated by Siemens Gamesa, while NextEra Energy provided information boards and pictures to complete the educational display.
"I called Sam Massey (NextEra Director of Renewable Development) and he was very much in favor of my idea to have this exhibit created here," said Darrell Brehm, historical museum board member. "The Pratt Wind Farm has a heck of a presence in the county, and these turbines will likely be here 99 years or more. That's history in the making and we need to learn all about it while we can."
Brehm and Kennedy said the Pratt miniature wind turbine was the only one they knew of in existence at this time.
Charmaine Swanepoel, museum curator, said a special area was cleared for the new exhibit and outlets installed to make the turbine work.
"We appreciate so much what has been done here," she said. "We feel very fortunate to offer this display and educate the many school children, as well as adults, that come through here."
The museum, located at 208 South Ninnescah in Pratt (1 block east & 1 block south of the junction of U.S. highways 281 & 54) is open for tours 1 p.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday; 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. , Saturday and Sunday; and by appointment. Reservations are recommended for tours, meetings and large groups. The museum is closed on New Year's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Call 620-672-7874 for more information about the exhibit or to schedule a tour.
The Pratt County Historical Musuem hosts their annual Christmas Open House on Sunday, December 16, but welcomes visitors any time.