Jacksonville Area Museum Phase II Expansion Going Out for Bids, Advertising Reach to Expand with South Jacksonville Tourism Grant

By Benjamin Cox on February 6, 2024 at 7:23am

The Jacksonville Area Museum Foundation Board has a forthcoming announcement on the success of their fundraising.

The Board met Thursday evening to discuss the museum’s Phase II expansion into the former mail sorting portion of the Old Post Office building.

Board member and past president David Blanchette says that bids for the next phase are forthcoming: “Before Spring hits, we anticipate putting out for bids for the start of the Phase II construction work. The first thing we are going to have going on is the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and electrical upgrades to the building, which will then pave the way for the continued development of Phase II and its exhibits, which will be a separate bid. The good news is that people are going to start seeing progress very, very soon. We anticipate the Foundation in the not-to-distant future will inform the public about how successful their fundraising campaign has been for Phase II. But, if we are starting work on Phase II, I think people can guess how successful the fundraising campaign has been.”

Blanchette was in attendance at the South Jacksonville Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday night to follow through on a request for tourism funds. Blanchette told the board that the museum is looking to double their promotions budget to reach a broader audience for the expansion: “Our past years of funding for graphic design and advertising was approximately $9,000. With Phase II coming onboard, we thought we wanted to double that because we anticipate the need for a lot of additional promotion to make people aware of what Phase II is going to be and to get them to want to visit. South Jacksonville has been kind enough to agree with our vision, and they are giving us the $9,000, which will allow us to double our advertising budget.”

Blanchette says that the museum is primarily getting visitors around the Jacksonville and Springfield area, with more people trickling in from St. Louis. Blanchette says that the Lego exhibit has been a popular attraction for those beyond the borders of the county. Blanchette told the South Jacksonville Board of Trustees on Thursday that the museum saw approximately 1,000 visitors last year. He says with the extension of the advertising budget, they hope that visitors will continue to come from abroad to visit.