MELBA — For longtime Melba resident Beverly Robinson — this years’ Fourth of July grand marshal — history is a way to reach younger generations and appreciate the past.

“The young people now don’t kind of understand the way it was,” said Robinson, vice president of the Melba Valley Historical Society, who helps run the Melba Valley Museum. “We’re just trying to bring it back so that people know the way things were.”

Robinson, 70, cruised down the streets of downtown Melba on Thursday as part of a nearly four mile-long parade for the annual “Old Tyme” Fourth of July Celebration.

The almost $30,000 day-long festival, organized by the nonprofit “Olde Tyme” volunteer committee, draws in around 20,000 people each Independence Day, and continues to grow each year.

“The whole idea is to keep it still family-friendly, fun — not too commercialized,” said Lindy Bahem, fourth-year “Olde Tyme” committee chairwoman. “It takes a whole community of volunteering to get it going.”

Though the festivities, like the annual tractor pull and chicken round up, continued through the day, Robinson made her way to the museum, where she spends a lot of her time sifting through antique items.

The Fourth of July, Robinson said, is one of the busiest days at the museum — hundreds of people flood in and out of the two-story building.

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It was her connection to Melba that eventually led her to open the museum in 2013, in the now remodeled 100-year-old building at 310 Carrie Rex Rd. in downtown Melba, next to the post office. The museum, with a general theme of the 1940s and 1950s, is lined wall to wall with historical items such as old Melba High School cheerleading outfits and letterman jackets. Robinson operates the museum alongside other Melba Valley Historical Society members.

Robinson has deep roots in Melba — she was born and raised in the small town, which has a population of roughly 500 people, and graduated from Melba High School.

“It’s a nice little community,” Robinson said.

Each Tuesday, she spends her days working at the museum, cataloging items to showcase there. The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Saturday from May through October.

The idea for the museum, Robinson said, is to keep history alive and appreciated.

“I kind of just got hooked on this old stuff, and I love it,” Robinson said. “I enjoy antiques and old stuff anyways, so it just kind of fell into place.”

Savannah Cardon is the Caldwell reporter for the Idaho Press. Follow her on Twitter, @savannahlcardon, or reach her at 208-465-8172.

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