Community given taste of new museum’s plans

  • From left, Heritage Cultural Center board member John Clancy, Greg Olson and Forrest Keaton discuss a variety of subjects.
  • The inner area of the building was not accessible, but teased guests as they could see many of the interesting pieces of history just inside.
  • Different styles of Coca-Cola bottles were atop an antique Coca-Cola soda dispenser machine, including one with “Jacksonville, Ill.” on it seen here.
  • Ruth Verhoff takes a close look at a display during the sneak peak.

by Kyla Hurt
photos by Kyla Hurt

A ‘sneak peak’ of the in-progress Jacksonville Area Museum at 301 E. State St. took place on Saturday, October 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The museum will take over the home of Jacksonville’s old Post Office building.

In the ‘about’ section on their Facebook page under “Jacksonville Area Museum,” they state that they are, “Dedicated to the collection, preservation, interpretation, and appreciation of the cultural history and heritage of Jacksonville, Illinois and the surrounding area.”

The recent event was also called a ‘work-in-progress’ tour — maintained with strict COVID-19 guidelines for all to follow. The opportunity allowed for the public to view some of the acquired pieces in the collection before the museum is entirely open.

For now, there is still much work to be done on the building itself and in order to complete the museum collections and officially open. Jacksonville Area Museum Board Chairman David Blanchette says, “July 2021 is the target date now,” which will be in time for their scheduled hosting of the Smithsonian “Voices and Votes” exhibit October 30 – December 11, 2021.

Guests did see, however, progress on the restoration of this historic Post office lobby and other building developments; plus viewings of some of MacMurray College’s archives, which are now officially housed with the museum; Nellie Knopf paintings; a partially completed exhibit station and more. The event was well attended and board members of the Heritage Cultural Center, plus some of Blanchette’s family, volunteered for the event.

On Sunday, October 11, the Jacksonville Area Museum Facebook page posted a photo used as this edition’s cover. Reminiscent of the whimsical scene of Sloane, Ferris and Cameron standing still and gazing at the masterpieces before them at the Art Institute of Chicago, this photo pays glorious tribute to that epic cinematic moment. The photo is taken by Blanchette’s daughter, Belinda Meis, of five children staring at the museum’s wall of Nellie Knopf paintings from the sneak peak event.

Blanchette had jokingly referred to the group of children in the photo as, “my posse of grandchildren, who were in town to help with the Jacksonville Area Museum work-in-progress tour.”

Interesting and attention-grabbing … that was the fun photo. It was memorable. It felt perfect for the museum to post. The Jacksonville Area Museum is sure to be a far-reaching attraction, bringing in visitors to experience and appreciate the cultural history, learn interesting facts from the past and maybe even bring back some memories.

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About the author

Kyla Hurt is a capable boondoggler trained in the arts; she’s also an accomplished event coordinator with experience from museum fundraising to art festivals. She enjoys puppies, sunshine, and good radishes – and wit. Wit is good, too.

View all articles by Kyla Hurt