ST. CHARLES – It’s a historic year for St. Charles as several buildings are being commemorated by the St. Charles History Museum in three upcoming exhibits this year.
The first exhibit – “Serving Gas to Promoting History” – showcases the museum’s building and how it “has always served the community in some capacity,” said Alison Costanzo, executive director of the St. Charles History Museum.
As for what will be on display, Costanzo said they received some items from the original owner of the building, C.S. McCornack.
“He brought us some photos of when the building was under construction and photos given to him from his son Elmer McCornack,” Costanzo said. “He also brought Texaco memorabilia.”
The exhibit was originally slated for opening Feb. 9, but due to the winter storm, was pushed back to Feb. 16. It explores how the museum went from being McCornack gas station to being a home for the museum in 2001. It also celebrates the 90th anniversary of the building and the 85th year of the St. Charles Historical Society.
St. Charles History Museum intern Amanda Helfers was in charge of putting the exhibit together and said the process was hectic, but rewarding.
“It’s been an incredible experience putting it all together and everyone should come see it,” Helfers said.
But, the St. Charles History Museum building isn’t the only building in St. Charles celebrating its 90th anniversary. Hotel Baker, which will be featured in another St. Charles Museum exhibit near the end of May, is also celebrating its ninth decade in St. Charles. There will also be a small pop-up exhibit that will be featured at Hotel Baker on June 2, the night it opened on.
One other mini-exhibit and 90th anniversary the museum is celebrating is Blue Goose Market’s anniversary this year, but the details on that exhibit are still being fleshed out, Costanzo said.
The last major exhibit planned for year is a World War I exhibit that will look at St. Charles’ role in the war, Costanzo said.
“We’ll be focusing on veterans that served in World War I from St. Charles,” Costanzo said. “We’ll be talking about the home front, the people and what was happening here during that time.”
When that exhibit will open is still being decided but Costanzo said it should be opening near the fall.
As for how the museum goes about putting all these exhibits together, it’s about more than the collection.
“When we put together exhibits, it’s not just about the items but it’s about the story, too,” Costanzo said. “People connect more with items connected to stories.”