Rockford Area Historical Society News & Update

Terry Konkle-President


In the last month a lot of work has been done on both the old and new museums. Let’s consider the old location first. At this point all of the Burch Room has been moved including everything on the walls. One of the two basement rooms has been cleared and about a third of the other has been looked over, and we are finding a lot of different things. Some of them will be transported to the new museum while some will be sold or disposed of as not useable. Decisions will be made on several things. The old museum display room still has a lot of artifacts to be moved.

A closet area in the old museum was loaded with boxes, artifacts and clothing. The average sized storage room was packed from floor to ceiling. All of that material has been removed from the room and is being evaluated. When cleaning out the basement and the closet, we found many things that were not worth keeping. Rotted newspapers, broken boards and glass, unused quilt raffle tickets from the 1990’s, pieces of lumber, old cardboard boxes and paper museum signs along with wet, soggy rags were all taken to the dumpster. We did keep some things (duplicate artifacts, broken machines, wooden doors etc.) for our museum and society experts to look at. They could be part of the sale.

The new museum is progressing with a lot of the graphics now in place or on site ready to be installed. In the past couple of weeks many have stopped by to view our progress. All of the things from the Burch Room are now in the office, research rooms and storage areas at the new museum. Some organization of the material needs to be done, but a lot is ready. Our museum manager, Al Pratt, is at the new museum working on many afternoons and even though we are not officially open to the public, he will show interested people through the building.

I spoke with many visitors at the “Golden “R” reunion a couple of weeks ago, and several asked if we were still seeking donations or pledges. We still need some help to meet our estimated expenses for museum display areas. We have altered our original plans a bit, but not a lot. Donations and pledges are still welcome and can be sent to: Rockford Area Museum, PO Box 781, Rockford, Michigan 49341. Contact me with any questions or comments at 616-866-0530.

At the present time we have about $70,000 available from donations and $20,000 in pledges. We have paid all of our bills connected with renovating the building (heating, cooling, electrical, walls, lights, carpeting, floor, painting, plumbing, windows, door, insulation, wall removal etc.) and our moving bills (heavy items from old museum). We are also up to date with what is owed to our museum manager and museum consultant. We could still use about $30,000 to do all that we want.

When the process of raising funds began, we were told that sometimes pledges were not met. We have only had one pledge promise that has not been fully taken care of so far. This says a lot for our positive community. They not only promise but they deliver!

I will close by stating that our expenses have been reduced because many society volunteers and other people and businesses have given their time and often their materials to help our cause. We have thanked each of them, and they will be recognized on the donor wall of our new building.

I will continue to keep readers up to date in future columns as this project reaches its conclusion.

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