The Geneva History Museum (GHM) will remain closed through the summer to complete several projects. GHM was awarded a $162,628 Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to redesign the archives and collections storage rooms. This project was originally planned for the winter months of 2021, however with summer events cancelled due to COVID-19, GHM has decided to complete the project now. High-density mobile shelving storage systems will be installed to improve the care, storage and environmental conditions for the collections and provide 46% more storage space.
During closure, GHM will also install a Story Booth thanks to a Kane County Riverboat Grant that provided improved technology. The booth will be available in the Main Gallery to video record visitors who want to share their Geneva stories. The recordings will be saved on a hard drive, stored in the archives, and some may be used in exhibitions or programs.
Other projects that will continue during closure is the painting of a mural that will be the backdrop of our 18th century Crèche by Geneva artist, Dennis Gramlich. The mural depicts Naples, Italy, where the Crèche was made, with buildings, street vendors, and mountains along the Bay of Naples. The community can watch Dennis paint the mural through our windows on South Third Street from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., each Wednesday and Saturday.
Several Crèche figures have had their clothing repaired or replaced, thanks to our Museum Educator, Heidi Howlett, for providing her seamstress skills and to Paula Jaeger Pikowitz for her donation of silk from Cowtan & Tout. Original trim was used along with the new fabric to keep the clothing as authentic as possible.
GHM has a goal to reopen with a celebration including behind-the-scenes tours of the new storage areas, opening the Story Booth, unveiling the Crèche mural and new clothing.
GHM received additional funding for the storage redesign project with $22,500 from The Dunham Fund, $20,542 from the Kane County Riverboat Fund, and donated supplies from Uline. The Story Booth was funded by individual donors and fundraisers over the past five years.
UPDATE: the lower level Collections and Archives storage rooms have been emptied. The installer came to check final measurements and we await the final design layout from Artistic Storage. During this time, GHM staff and volunteers will continue to work on the collection to identify unknown objects, index archival boxes and prepare for the new shelving.
The Geneva History Museum is a non-profit organization with a mission to preserve and share Geneva’s story while inspiring and educating the community. For more information or to receive updates about this project or other museum activities, please visit GenevaHistoryMuseum.org or email Info@GenevaHistoryMuseum.org.