Expansion planned at museum

Lisa Depies
Angie Snook, curator at the Geneseo Historical?Museum, displays plans for a proposed 900-square food education wing addition.

An expansion has been planned for the Geneseo Historical Museum. Construction on a 900-square foot education wing and genealogy center is expected to start later this month.

“We’ve talked about doing this for almost four years,” said museum curator Angie Snook. “The museum has become very successful in the downtown area, and every year the number of programs we do grows and grows.”

The education wing would feature space for children’s programs including skits and demonstrations. “We’ll also be able to offer hands-on demonstrations,”?said Snook. A flat-screen TV was donated to the museum, and Snook said it would be installed in the new space and used to show videos to visiting groups.

“We had 3,800 school children through the museum this past year, so a program area is needed,”?she said. Tour groups from Henry, Rock Island,?Whiteside and Peoria counties have visited the museum. “They’re attracted to our Lincoln and Underground Railroad connections,” she said.

The new education wing will be built on the south-west corner of the museum. In addition to a first-floor education wing, the new addition will feature basement space.

“The basement area will be used for restoration of artifacts. That’s space we desperately need,”? she said.

The addition will be constructed to look identical to the Italianate museum structure.

“It will have the same white brick, the same bracketing and the same style windows,” said Snook.

The interior will feature a working fireplace and historical architectural reproductions. “We’re hoping it will mirror the image of the museum so well that in a few years, people won’t even remember we didn’t always have (the addition),” she said.

The project is expected to cost $120,000, and Snook said approximately half of the funding has been received. “We’ll have a number of volunteers helping with the project, which will keep our expenses down,” said Snook.

Still, donations are needed to help pay for the addition. “The Geneseo Foundation has pledged to match $1 for every $3 we raise, up to $30,000,” she said.

Donations for the project may be sent to the Geneseo Historical Museum, 205 S. State St., Geneseo, IL 61254.

“This is exciting. It’s a project that’s been really well thought out, and we desperately need more space,” said Snook.

Construction is expected to take about a year and a half, and plans for the project are on display to the public at the museum.

Early site work has started at the Geneseo Historical Museum for a planned expansion. The new space will be added to the south-west corner of the museum.