BATAVIA – A charity event combined with business networking was held at the recently opened Acquaviva restaurant by the Batavia Chamber of Commerce, which channeled the donations to the Batavia Depot Museum.
“We raised $800 for the Depot expansion project,” Chamber President and CEO Holly Deitchman said in an email.
The event included tours of the museum located on the opposite corner from the hosting Italian restaurant at Water and Houston streets. The restaurant is the latest offshoot of Acquaviva Winery in Maple Park.
Taking Chamber guests on a museum tour was longtime curator Chris Winter, who pointed out that the depot was moved across town to the site in 1973 and opened to the public in 1975. She said the 1854 structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its age and unique architecture.
“It’s believed to be one of the oldest existing depots in the United States,” Winter said.
The latest plans for the expansion were displayed by Dan Hoefler, a member of the Batavia Historical Society board, who suggested people learn more about the project at bataviahistoricalsociety.org.
“[It] tells the story of why it will benefit Batavians,” Hoefler said, noting the plans have been enhanced to incorporate a welcoming center for the city that will have stunning vistas of the Peg Bond Center and Fox River.
Museum Director Jennifer Putzier helped lead visitors on a tour that included the first victory garden exhibit sprouting up behind the museum and highlighting victory gardens’ roles in World War I and II. A theme of the victory garden is sowing the seeds of liberty.
Volunteers are sought to tend the garden, which is growing green beans, cucumber, squash and onions. Some of the produce will be donated to the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry, Putzier said.
The expansion project campaign is nearing $750,000 in funds, Putzier said, noting that the Batavia Historical Society is responsible for raising the $2 million sought, with the Batavia Park District, which operates the museum, continuing to maintain and staff it.
Fundraisers are ongoing for the multiyear drive, including a Sept. 9 church walk with refreshments served at the museum. Tickets will cost $15, she said.
In another nod to history, the Batavia Park District will offer rides on its historical trolley for guided tours led by the curator. The coming dates are filling fast, Putzier said. They are offered from 1 to 2 p.m. June 13 and 16 and Aug. 15 and 18 for $10. The trolley returns to the museum with time for tours. To learn more, visit bataviaparks.org.