Why the Rockford Area Museum matters

Dear Editor,

Several years ago, in anticipation of our Rockford High School class reunion, I went to the Rockford High School in search of sport trophies from years gone by. The athletic director suggested we head to the local museum. We were amazed at the items stored beneath the blue building near the dam! Much to our surprise, we found high school trophies that were collecting dust. I wondered then: Where do we put all of this stuff? How do we keep the past while recognizing the present?

There was one item that caught my eye: the Rams head plaque that was in the entrance to the Rockford High School (now North Rockford Middle School). Looking at yearbooks from the ‘70s, one can easily spot the beautiful wood carving in the background of group photo shots. I asked, “Who made this? Who spent hours creating this masterpiece? And again, what do we do with these old items?”

Today that beautiful wood carving hangs at Ward’s Hair Place in downtown Rockford in a prominent spot above the fireplace with plenty of conversations of years gone by!

Today, while serving on the Rockford Area Museum committee, I ask myself, “Why do we need a bigger museum in downtown Rockford?” The answer comes quickly! We need to remember where we have been in order to appreciate where we are today. We need to remember not only the school district but the individual people and local businesses that made the Rockford area what it is today!

Yes, the Rockford Area Museum matters!

Mary Lou Ohnsman
Rockford High School
Class of 1974


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