Preparations for a Brighter Future


Hard to believe autumn is here, right? We’ve been making steady progress on our new museum planning and want to take this opportunity to update you.

Site Identification

As we reported earlier this year, we were not able to acquire our preferred museum site, the Grady Hill location. We immediate shifted gears and focused our attention on several other sites that would still meet our key criteria. With these possible locations in mind, we engaged our research partners to provide the essential data that would help us make the best choice.

Economic Viability

The Northern Illinois University Center for Governmental Studies’ Economic Impact Report was completed this summer. Among many important data points, it quantifies projected museum admission revenues for several sites on our short list. The variance is substantial (as much as $500,000/year), and proves we must be very strategic in selecting our site. We continue to refine our location options in light of this critical new information.


Results from our Fundraising Feasibility Study (25,000 square feet with state-of-the-art exhibits and community space) were received recently, as well, and indicate the funds are likely not available for our $20 million dream museum. Our task now is to determine the best use of the amount our advisors say we CAN raise ($7 million) while continuing to explore additional funding from other sources and partnerships. Questions before us now: 1) What can we get for $7 million? and 2) Would it be sustainable?

Internal Readiness

An organizational audit is being conducted by the board and management to ensure that we have a firm foundation upon which to launch a major capital campaign. Our committee structure is being refined. Bylaws and policies, such as gift acceptance, investments, and financial administration, are being reviewed and strengthened.

As you can tell, museum planning is a slow and deliberate process. To honor our investors and members, the Society Board and Project Committee are leaving no stone unturned in our quest to relocate our museum to a facility that is sustainable yet does justice to the amazing Galena-area history of which we are the guardians. Once we’ve identified a location, we expect to host several community input sessions to gauge member and public opinion, and sincerely hope you will make your voice heard as we refine our plans. Watch for more information about public meeting dates on our website or in the Galena Gazette.

Executive Director