The Jacksonville City Council heard an update about the Heritage Cultural Center Museum Monday night at their regular scheduled city workshop meeting. David Blanchette, executive director of the Heritage Cultural Center Board says that the museum is nearing an opening date but more work is needed done at the old Post Office building: “We’ve asked the city council to appropriate an amount not to exceed $4,500 to allow Benton & Associates to evaluate the old Post Office building, so we know exactly how much money we need to raise through fundraising to get it through all of its phases of development. One of the key components of fundraising is knowing exactly how much money you need to raise and being specific about it to your donors. I’m encouraged that the council is looking favorably upon that, and hopefully, in a couple of weeks they will look to make it a reality.”
Blanchette told the council that he would like to have engineering agreement done with Benton & Associates done as soon as possible so that the museum can continue to set up and possibly offer commercial office space to help get a return on the investment. He says the repairs to the building will be crucial and need to be done by next summer when the museum is set to host a travelling Smithsonian Institute exhibit.
Blanchette says that recent talks have also progressed between the Heritage Culture Center board and MacMurray College’s alumni association in receiving the college’s archive collection: “The alumni association has put forth a contract that City Attorney Dan Beard is reviewing because it would need approval by the city council for the long-term lone of their entire collection to the Jacksonville Area Museum. Their provisions of the agreement are proposing are an initial term of 3 years, to be renewed for 10 years after that. Obviously, they want to make sure that we are a viable entity and that’s why the initial term is just 3 years. Once we have proven ourselves, it will be much more long term. It’s definitely a step in the right direction toward making a permanent home for the MacMurray College collection, and hopefully the agreement will meet with the city’s approval.”
Blanchette says that excitement in the community is building around the museum’s opening. Citizens can visit the museum’s Facebook page to stay up-to-date on further developments.