Galena Museum Lands Federal Grant: $1.8 Million
According to a report from the Telegraph Herald; The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration awarded a $1.8 million grant to the Galena- Jo Daviess County Historical Society. Funds are planned to be used for a new Galena and U.S. Grant History Museum. Funding for this venture comes from the American Rescue Plan Act. The current museum, which can be found at 211 South Bench Street in Galena, has been their for over 80 years and the aging building presents issues that need to be fixed.
In 2017, the Galena- Jo Daviess County Historical society obtained 3.5 acres of land on Bouthillier Street. This location neighbors the U.S. Grant Home State Historical Site. Orgianl plans called for a new museum to be built there, and in addition, the nearby Nelson Stillman House would be renovated as an administrative building and event space. However, progress on the project stalled in January 2020 due to funding, cost increases, and the pandemic.
This new, one-story museum would cover 8,500 square feet and house five major galleries. The museum’s current location on Bench Street is almost double that size, but is divided between two floors. Unfortunately, a quarter of visitors to the location cannot access the upstairs due; the new building plan would eliminate those issues of accessibility. The new site also would offer 45 parking stalls, while the current museum lacks off-street parking.
Governor J.B. Pritzker was quoted as saying;
“Galena is one of our state’s greatest attractions, serving as an idyllic getaway for tourists each summer. Investing in a brand-new museum builds on the city’s proud tradition of welcoming people from around the country and is a fitting tribute to President Grant, one of Illinois’ most notable former residents.”
According to their website, estimated opening date of the new museum is Summer of 2026. This project will build a one-story, 8,542-square-foot building that will provide more space for social distancing, accessibility for people with disabilities and integration of stories of local Indigenous populations that were not previously part of the museum. The EDA investment will be matched with $1.9 million in local funds and is expected to create 60 jobs, according to grantee estimates.