ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles History Museum today took a step toward its future while still preserving its past.
The museum at 215 E. Main St., St. Charles, unveiled a new logo, website and membership benefits overnight. The logo gives the museum a modern look but also pays homage to the front of the museum building, which was built in 1928 and was a McCornack Oil Company full-service gas station.
“It’s a new time for our organization … and we want people excited about us,” said Alison Costanzo, the museum’s executive director, of the changes.
Costanzo joined the museum in January. She was previously an educator and Victorian site coordinator for the Lombard Historical Society and a play facilitator at the DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville.
The changes revealed today are only the start of a fresh era at the museum. Costanzo has reached out to existing partners and formed new partnerships to enhance the programming at the museum.
Costanzo on Monday shared plans with the St. Charles City Council to beautify the museum grounds, install a rain barrel and plant a sustainable landscape. Assisting the museum with the effort are the city of St. Charles, the St. Charles Park District, Fermilab and Pizzo Native Plant Nursery.
The park district’s Primrose Farm in St. Charles Township will donate some spice plants for the garden, as well as a John Deere walking plow for display, said Laura Johns, manager of farm programs and interpretive services at Primrose.
Primrose also will bring a baby calf to the museum grounds and teach butter-making so visitors can learn about early farm life in St. Charles during an event called “MOO into Summer” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 13 at the museum.
Costanzo first met in January with Johns and Pam Otto, the district’s manager of nature programs and interpretive services. Johns said the district is excited to work with the museum.
“We’ll help make ourselves relevant to the future while preserving the needs of the past,” Johns said.
Another effort underway at the museum is the “It’s a Big Dill” temporary exhibition that opens to the public June 6. The exhibit will explore St. Charles’ previous role as the pickle capital of the world for more than 40 years.
Longtime museum member Steve Martin said he is looking forward to the exhibit. He had also served on the museum’s executive board for about 19 years.
Martin said he supports the ideas coming from Costanzo and the museum staff, such as referring to the museum building as the St. Charles History Museum rather than the previously used St. Charles Heritage Center.
The heritage center title was first developed because the museum used to operate two sites – the current building and the separate Dunham Hunt Museum, Martin said.
“You need to step forward and come up with new ways of presenting things to keep it fresh,” Martin said. “Some people may not like it, but other people will embrace it.”
Costanzo said all the changes and progress at the museum are a team effort between herself, the staff, the executive board and the various community partnerships.
“It’s a place where I want everyone to come and be involved,” she said.
For information about St. Charles History Museum membership and events, call 630-584-6967 or visit www.stcmuseum.org.