The Board of Trustees of the Springfield Museums have voted to proceed with the construction of Phase II of the new Museum of Springfield History.
The new museum is being developed in the former Verizon office building on Edwards Street across the street from the Quadrangle and adjacent to the Museums' parking lot. Phase One of the project, consisting of the complete renovation of the existing building, is nearing completion.
Phase II will be the construction of a dramatic two-story Great Hall addition with a new entryway and exhibit space for large objects such as Springfield-built automobiles and a 1937 Zeta aircraft to be suspended overhead.
The new Museum of Springfield History will open to the public in the fall of 2009. Exhibits will describe Springfield's development as a manufacturing center, the city's role in transportation history, the many inventions and "firsts" that were generated here, the growth of downtown as the region's commercial center, the effects of urbanization and suburbanization, and the stories of Springfield's diverse populations. A highlight of the museum will be the Indian Motocycle collection which has been donated to the Springfield Museums by Esta Manthos, the owner and director of the former Indian Motocycle Museum on Hendee Street in Springfield.
"This is a very exciting project," said J. Michael Wallace, Chairman of the Board of the Springfield Museums. "It's the first new museum to be built at the Quadrangle in 75 years. Now we'll be able tell Springfield's story as it deserves to be told."
In addition to generous private donations, a state Cultural Facilities Fund grant, corporate support and foundation grants, the Springfield Museums were recently awarded a prestigious $600,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities toward the construction of the new museum. The Museums still need to raise $1.9 million to meet the 4 to 1 matching requirements of the grant. To donate to the project, please call 413.263.6800, ext. 255.