Happy 40th Birthday, Midway Village!

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.

Construction of the History Building

Construction of the History Building – In the bottom photo, you can see three of our first Village buildings – the blacksmith shop and original Town Hall from Harlem Township as well as the Breckinridge House.

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.

History Building Completed

History Building Completed

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!

Teaser photo!  These are close-ups of the original Kate Chamberlain Hotel in Caledonia.  It was originally planned to be moved to Midway Village, but was in such disrepair, it would not have survived the trip.  Here you can see the damage done by  hooligans.

Teaser photo! These are close-ups of the original Kate Chamberlain Hotel in Caledonia. It was originally planned to be moved to Midway Village, but was in such disrepair, it would not have survived the trip. Here you can see the damage done by hooligans.

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.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s