Midway Village Museum is celebrating a milestone of 40 years of providing educational exhibitions, exciting events, and engaging activities for the Rockford community and all who come to visit us. We want to say ‘thank you’ to those who have supported us through their time, talent, and treasure by volunteering, donating, and simply taking part in everything Midway Village has to offer.
Midway Village Museum was organized as Rockford History Museum in 1968 by the Swedish, Harlem, and Rockford Historical Societies for the purpose of collecting, preserving and interpreting the history of the Rockford area. It began with a donation of land by the Severin Family and over the last 40 years, our museum has grown in many different ways.
In 1972, the original museum site was located on eleven acres; today the site is 137 acres. The original 10,000 sq. ft. Museum Center facility, known as the History Building, opened in 1974. This was before the construction of the Industrial Gallery, which opened in 1976. For ten years, the two buildings stood apart until the Exhibition Hall was built to link them together.
This year, this blog will mostly showcase these changes by providing rarely seen images of the construction of our buildings. As an interpreter, I am often asked by our guests how we moved all of our Victorian buildings to their present home in our Village. Check back each month to see just how the museum’s early dedicated men and women carried out this achievement!
Midway Village continues to grow with the construction of Phase 2 of our newest long-term exhibition Many Faces, One Community that interprets immigration to Rockford and the growth of our diverse community. Phase 2 includes the building of an immigrant house and a streetscape showcasing 7th Street and Main Street at the turn of the century. It is important to remind each generation of the history of our community and to help them find their place within it. The support of our community has granted Midway Village Museum with this fun, educational tool with which we can carry out this goal.