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Galena museum recipient of $1.8 million grant


An Illinois tourism destination city has received federal funds to help build a new museum to replace the current one.

The Galena and U.S. Grant Museum will use a U.S. Department of Commerce grant totaling $1.8 million to make this happen.

Tessa Flak, the executive director of the Galena Jo Davies County Historical Society, said the current museum has limited parking, internal issues with the building and can’t preserve or showcase all its artifacts.

“We have over 12,000 items in our museum, and only based on our current limitations and space, we can only share maybe 1500 of those,” she explained.

Flak said the money will only cover the cost of developing the building. There are still other museum projects that need funding.

“Our next phase is going to be exhibit development. And the third phase is to rehabilitate a historic home,” Flak added, “that's going to also neighbor our new museums site and allow for more exhibit space inside there, events, you name it.”

Flak says the museum will continue to fundraise “both publicly and through grants are both state and federal.”

Galena attracts over one million visitors each year. Flak anticipates that the new museum will increase spectators by 300%.

Flak said they are hoping to break ground by the summer of 2023 with a completion date of 2026.

The new location will neighbor the Grant Home State Historic Site.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.