Our Mission


To enrich the region through educational programming and world class art exhibitions.


To celebrate the historical significance of the Clarinda Carnegie Library building.


To make the museum available to the community as a cultural & educational resource.

Karen & Robert Duncan

About a year ago, Karen Duncan said she had started writing a book for her grandchildren featuring vignettes from her life. Among the childhood events she included in the book were her memories of the Clarinda Public Library.

“I love old buildings and it would have been a crime if the library had been torn down. That would have been a huge loss to Clarinda,” Robert Duncan said. The couple purchased the former Carnegie Library during a public auction held June 19, 2012 in Clarinda.

Today, Karen and Robert Duncan are the owners of Duncan Aviation in Lincoln, NE and their family also owns Bank Iowa in Clarinda. The couple was also one of the initial donors to the Clarinda Foundation.

“This is just a continuation of our desire to give back to the community,” Robert Duncan said.

“The important thing is to save it for the community because it has so much history” –Robert & Karen Duncan

History of the Carnegie Libraries

A Carnegie library is a library built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. A total of 2,509 Carnegie libraries were built between 1883 and 1929. Books and libraries were important to Carnegie, beginning with his early childhood in Scotland and his teen years in Allegheny/Pittsburgh.

While hundreds of the library buildings have become museums, community centers, office buildings, residences, or are otherwise used, more than half of those in the United States still serve their communities as libraries over a century after their construction.


Dedicated April 15, 1909, Clarinda’s Carnegie Library building served the city until 2004.

“Few towns that requested a grant and agreed to his terms were refused. By the time the last grant was made in 1919, there were 3,500 libraries in the United States, nearly half of them built with construction grants paid by Carnegie.”

Museum Staff

Trish Bergren - Executive Director
Anne Pagel - Curator

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