Historical Museum recreates the early days of town

The outside of the curved structure will feature a Native American display.  The inside willl be the forest circle storytelling area (with fake column tree).
The outside of the curved structure will feature a Native American display.  The inside willl be the forest circle storytelling area (with fake column tree).

Exhibits for the NEW Rockford Area Museum are now being constructed under the direction of Media Rare, the consulting firm that has been instrumental in the planning of the new museum.

Displays will lead visitors through the story of how and why Rockford was developed, through the 1800s which included fires and a flood that destroyed much of the downtown district four separate times. Artifacts and interactive exhibits will show what life was like in Rockford’s early days, and how it has developed. These exhibits will also tell the story of how Rockford grew and thrived from the early 1900s to today when it serves as the hub of a thriving area that includes surrounding townships.

The north exhibit area will contain many artifacts that the Rockford Area Historical Society, (RAHS), has had to keep in storage due to lack of display space in the current museum. These things, along with many artifacts, photos, and documents from the current museum will be combined to tell the Rockford story in a manner that will be of interest to visitors of all ages.

Many new elements of the exhibits will be tailored to the interests of pre-school children and student visitors. Future plans include a series of programs for youngsters including puppet shows designed to entertain and educate about the area’s history.

The RAHS congratulates the entire community for recognizing the importance of the creating the new museum. The generosity of area residents, businesses, and organizations has raised over $270,000 in less than two years, but additional funding is still needed.

There are many ways area residents can help. Naming rights for exhibit rooms and certain exhibits are also still available for businesses, individuals, families, or organizations who want to help in this manner. Donations in any amount are also appreciated. No amount is too small. For information about how you or your organization can help, call Al Pratt at 485-4144 or Terry Konkle at 866-0530.

The intent is to create a museum that will be a standard of excellence for small city museums. In addition to longer hours for visitors, several experienced volunteers, led by Pat Frye, the museum’s Research Director, will offer assistance with genealogy and other research. All of this will be done at no charge. The museum depends solely on the support of the community for its exhibits and ongoing operating expenses.

The new museum is to being open for a minimum of 22 hours per week. This is an unusually ambitious schedule for a small city museum. Summer Hours, starting when the new museum opens, tentatively planned for late May, are tentatively set for Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. and Thursday from 1 to 7 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Volunteers are needed. For details about volunteering, contact Al Pratt @ 485-4144 or by email at rockfordahs@yahoo.com.

Museum representatives are also available to speak to area clubs and organizations to explain the museum project and answer any questions about the museum, available services, and volunteer opportunities.


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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.