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Security concerns loom over Kern County Museum

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Posted at 2:13 PM, Apr 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-12 17:13:02-04

Officials at the Kern County Museum are concerned after people have been wandering the grounds after hours – especially following the recent death of Merle Haggard.

The museum has locks, gates and an alarm system to keep out vandals and the public overnight, to protect its priceless pieces of history.

"The artifacts and structures here are of historical value. So they need to be protected and preserved for generations to come, they're not just for us at this time. They're for our great great grandchildren," Beth Pandol, Vice Chair of the KCM Foundation.

After Merle Haggard's boxcar moved in, some can't stay away. 

23ABC interviewed two sisters who spearheaded the boxcar move, something the museum is very grateful for, and the sisters said they came in early the morning of his death, to “have some private time” and eat Merle’s favorite breakfast.

“The morning we had breakfast with him there, he said the doctor told me not to eat biscuits and gravy, but I’m at Zingo’s,” Glenda Rankin said laughing..

23ABC reached out to Rankin for a comment, but she said she was too busy Tuesday.

The museum hopes to raise enough money to buy a gate that provides more security for the grounds. The museum is open to the public from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

"We appreciate the Kern County public very much, and want to share everything that's here with them. But let's do it in a manner that's safe for all of the artifacts and the structures and everyone during normal business hours," Pandol said.