Kane County History: Geneva Museum Reveals Archive Redesign, Special Projects

Kane County History: Geneva Museum Reveals Archive Redesign, Special Projects

  • Editor’s Note: This article is part of a weekly series on Kane County’s amazing history. This article is contributed by Terry Emma, director of the Geneva History Museum. All photos are courtesy of the Geneva History Museum.

Museum Educator Heidi Howlett, Director Terry Emma, and volunteers Pat and Nancy Bell move and inventory objects from the museum’s collections storage.

The Geneva History Museum 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 to redesign the archives and collections storage rooms. This project was originally planned for the winter months of 2021, but with summer events cancelled due to COVID-19, GHM has decided to complete the project now.

Museum volunteers Dan Maier and Terry McCurdy de-install old, metal shelving from the museum’s archive room.

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.

Several Crèche figures have had their clothing repaired or replaced, thanks to the seamstress skills of Museum Educator Heidi Howlett and to Paula Jaeger Pikowitz for her donation of silk from Cowtan & Tout.

Museum volunteer Ann Wilson and Archivist Gayle Meers moving the museum’s collection of ledgers into the Archival Reading Room.

Original trim was used along with the new fabric to keep the clothing as authentic as possible.

GHM has a goal to reopen in the fall 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.

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.

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