Port of Galena:1858

Port of Galena: 1858
Community Members Help Add Color to Exhibit at Paint the Town Event

The old adage, “Rome was not built in a day” has been used to explain how beautiful things don’t just happen overnight. They take time. That has proven to be the experience of the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum’s Port of Galena: 1858 exhibit, a work in progress, certainly. But visitors already can see, even in the exhibit’s unfinished state, a stimulating and educational display graphically telling the story of our hometown in its early-history heyday — a pioneering center of Mississippi riverboat traffic, lead mining and commerce.

Community members recently came out to assist in bringing the exhibit closer to completion at a 3-day “Paint the Town” event. Under the watchful eyes of exhibit creator Rich Tickner and volunteer Yvonne Larsen, volunteers painstakingly painted the miniature people, animals, carriages and other objects that will populate the miniature town. Pog paintersIn the photo above Mary Jo Losey, Mary Cinto and Mary Connors paint the figures that will inhabit the Port of Galena: 1858 exhibit.

When completed, the town will replicate Galena as it was more than 150 years ago, each building based on historic photos and the Galena River flowing in di-mensions as was at the time. The exhibit uses a mix of old and new technologies to show what Galena was like in 1858. Four interactive kiosks tell stories about some of the important people and structures from that era, and a lifelike visitor-guided riverboat glides up and down the river.

“The exhibit-development process, in its own way, is allowing visitors to participate in its creation,” says Ray Werner, History Museum assistant director/curator. “Folks will be able to bring friends and family here and point out the very characters they helped create for the exhibit.”


pog boatModel builder Rich Tickner puts finishing touches on a working, miniature steamboat, which visitors can steer down the Galena River in the Port of Galena: 1858 exhibit. Frequent guests also can see the exhibit progress over time.