Jacksonville may have a new museum opening in its not to distant future. David Blanchette, Chairman of the Heritage Cultural Center of Jacksonville says that the old Jacksonville Post Office on East State Street is drawing closer to opening up as a museum of local artifacts and history. “Tonight at our meeting, we are going to learn about the security system will soon be installed. The interior of the old Post Office has recently been painted to get it ready for use as a museum. Once that security system is installed, we will begin cleaning up the inside of the building, moving the artifacts in and sorting them, planning the exhibit cases, and perform all the little nuts and bolts that you really have to do to get it open. It doesn’t mean that the museum will open next month. Hopefully, it will happen some time in 2020. We are definitely making good progress in that direction.”
Blanchette says that the Heritage Cultural Center Board of Directors have continually been applying for grants as a stream of income to get the museum open and running. “We have applied for a number of grants to pay for a number of items to renovate the old Post Office – window restoration, painting, the security system – those sorts of things. We are still awaiting word on a number of those grants. In the mean time, we keep applying for grants. Our major source of funding is going to be grants and personal donations from patrons of the museum and members of the community.”
The museum received a large personal donation from Scotty DeWolf last summer for funding the museum’s operational costs. Blanchette says that the city’s plans to renovate East State Street in the next year will only effect street parking for the time being but should not effect access to the Post Office building long term.
Blanchette says that the museum gets donations for exhibits on a monthly basis. “Literally, every Board of Directors meeting we vote on accessioning items that people come forward and want to donate to us. They have heard about our plans for the museum. This particular meeting, we have a collection from John R. Davis, who was the mayor of Jacksonville around 1900. His family heard about the plans for the museum and decided to donate these items. It’s a full table service setting of fine china from his home that he used to serve official guests in his home, as well as an ivory letter opener that was in his office, and his official gavel as mayor, as well as a thumb drive with several photographs scanned on there that we can use as visuals. This is fairly typical of the type of things that people are coming forward with as they learn about the museum.”
Blanchette says that the building is ADA accessible and that the board is currently working on making the exhibits accessible to the visually impaired as well as the deaf and hard of hearing community with interactive audio-visual exhibits. Blanchette says that the Heritage Cultural Center will continue to provide updates as major milestones are reached throughout the year up to the opening.