Do you know where your past is? Maybe it’s in a shoebox that includes a worn wallet, a locket with a broken chain, and a handful of photos, some of which have writing on the back. Or perhaps it’s well organized in archival boxes, photo albums, or on ancestry.com.
Champaign County’s past is protected in our museum located at 809 E. Lawn Ave. in Urbana, the county seat. For 82 years it has been staffed by volunteers who continue to archive and upgrade the collection. At this time, however, we are only available to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays. Frankly, we are tired of being the “best-kept secret” in town. This community deserves a greater, state-of-the-art historical presentation.
A member recently forwarded excerpts from Educating for Virtue published by the National Humanities Institute. One contributor states that “…If we forget on whose shoulders we stand, we will lose our footing. Once the memory of the past grows dim, we will forget who we are and why we exist as a people.”
In addition to our monthly museum programs, we want to introduce new youth-based programs to the school children of Champaign County. When our young students visit the museum and marvel at Tecumseh’s tomahawk, Simon Kenton’s last long rifle, and the old Spring Hills jail, they want to come back with their parents. And that is what we want, to tell the Champaign County story to everyone.
This will involve hiring a professional director/curator in order to open the museum to the public at least five days a week and to fund our vision of future redesign. The proposed .3 mil levy will help us accomplish this and will cost the owner of a $100,000 property only $10.50 per year.
This is exciting! Be a part of it! Vote YES for your historical society on Nov. 8.
Dan Walter is President of the Champaign County Historical Society.