Missouri hotel transformed into a museum

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VERSAILLES - For centuries a hotel in Missouri ran, and now is used to educate people on the history of Morgan County.

The Martin Family Hotel was opened in 1853 as a log cabin. Samuel and Elizabeth Martin opened the hotel after bringing their 11 children to Versailles from Virginia. Of the eleven children, nine made it to adulthood and helped run the hotel with their parents. Some famous guests include Frank and Jesse James, Bess and Harry Truman and P.T. Barnum.

Through the years, the hotel saw many renovations and housed people until 1966 when it was sold by one of the Martin grandsons. It then transformed into the Morgan County Historical Museum. 

Docent Carol Jones said, "I think it's just great that we are saving the history, and since a lot of the descendants knew of family from the Martin group, you know, it's like, well, this is kind of family to us also."

There are 28 rooms on display in the hotel and today show a glimpse of the way people lived in the past. Each room has a different theme that people have donated items for through the years.

"We have a doctors room, a barber shop, a beauty shop, a quilt room, two war rooms, a chapel. It's very, very interesting and educational," Jones said.

Tour guides allow groups to take as much or as little time as they want in each room. In addition to giving tours, Jones said her favorite part is playing the role of Elizabeth Martin for guests.

"It's kind of fun to take on that persona," Jones said.

The museum is open from May to October. Tours are available during the week or by request on the weekends. 

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