Time Travel, Chippewa Falls Style: New Museum Plans Grand Opening Saturday
free admission, more will celebrate culmination of $4.5 million project
V1 Staff |
The new Chippewa Area History Center will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, June 3, with free admission, a flag raising, music, kids activities, and more.
While the new museum (12 Bridgewater Ave., Chippewa Falls) had a “soft opening” in February, it’s now ready for a full unveiling to the community. The $4.5 million project replaced the previous museum, which was housed in a former convent.
“The new Chippewa Area History Center offers a much more comprehensive look at different aspects of area history in a more open and comfortable setting that allows room for interpretive activities,” said Jim Schuh, a board member of the history center, who will emcee the grand opening. “We have so much more to share, including many items donated by local people from their families’ personal collections.”
The center will be open free or charge from 11am to 5pm Saturday, although donations will be accepted. Love music will start at 11am, while a flag-raising ceremony will begin at noon.
Following Saturday’s celebration, the Chippewa Area History Center (which houses both the Chippewa County Historical Society Museum and Chippewa County Genealogical Society Research Library) will be open 11am to 5pm Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is normally $6 for adults and $15 for families. Learn more at chippewaareahistorycenter.org.
Here are full details on the event, courtesy of a media release from the Chippewa Area History Center:
New Chippewa Area History Center Plans Grand Opening June 3
$4.5 million project result of a comprehensive community effort
(CHIPPEWA FALLS) – With the noon sounding of the historic Leinenkugel’s Brewing Company steam whistle, the local Patriotic Council will raise the flag and the grand opening of the new Chippewa Area History Center will be fully underway on Saturday, June 3.
The center opens for public viewing at 11 a.m., with the flag raising and ceremony beginning at noon. The grand opening is free and open to the public until 5 p.m. with donations gratefully accepted.
Construction on the center began in the fall of 2020 on the new three-story center located just outside Chippewa Falls’ beautiful and historic Irvine Park at 12 Bridgewater Ave. with substantial completion coming in 2022. Moving exhibits and artifacts from a former convent at 123 Allen St. that the center had far outgrown took substantial time, with much new design of display areas taking place and new exhibits under development in the interim.
The new facility was ready enough for the public to enjoy a “soft opening” on Feb. 3, the anniversary of Chippewa County’s separation from Crawford County in 1845, but now the center is ready for a full public unveiling, according to Jim Schuh, Chippewa Area History Center board member who will emcee the grand opening event.
“The new Chippewa Area History Center offers a much more comprehensive look at different aspects of area history in a more open and comfortable setting that allows room for interpretive activities,” Schuh said. “We have so much more to share, including many items donated by local people from their families’ personal collections.”
The center features display areas on the lumbering industry, the Chippewa River, agriculture, military service, and local manufacturing. Another exhibit will feature the people of the area, including Native American tribes, fur traders and contributions of various immigrant groups.
The grand opening ceremony will include comments from Greg Hoffman, Chippewa Falls mayor; Chuck Hull, Chippewa County Board and Chippewa Falls City Council member; Janet Seymour of the Wisconsin Historical Society; Frank Smoot, Chippewa Area History Center executive director; David Gordon, Chippewa Falls Historical Society president; and Wendy Sullivan, Chippewa County Genealogical Society president.
Old time music by The Maple Ridge Band will begin at 11 a.m. and Chippewa Falls musician and playwright Jerry Way will perform a few of his original songs about local history accompanied by Amanda Tanzer-Schafer on vocals and Jim Schuh on percussion following the opening ceremony.
Also commenting at the opening ceremony will be project architect Dave Paukner of CBS Squared. Schuh noted that the building was designed keeping both local history and budgetary concerns in mind. “It is designed to resemble the old Chippewa sawmill that was one of the leading industries in the area for decades,” Schuh said. “Visitors will recognize the similarities by viewing a model of the sawmill inside the center.”
Another of the featured speakers will be Bob Hogseth, co-chair of the capital campaign committee. Hogseth was one of the leaders in the efforts to raise approximately $4.5 million for the project. Unfortunately, David Railhe, CAHC president and co-chair of the capital campaign committee will be out of town and unable to participate.
Also as part of the festivities, children will enjoy games, gifts and surprises from a Chippewa Falls Fire Department firefighter in uniform.
“There are so many people to thank for making this possible,” Schuh said. “That especially includes the individuals, businesses and foundations that contributed financially to the efforts and to the people who donated materials for display. This has truly been a community effort.”
After the free grand opening, the multi-million-dollar Chippewa Area History Center housing the Chippewa County Historical Society Museum and Chippewa County Genealogical Society Research Library will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Research Library hours will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays, Thursdays and Fridays. Museum admission will be $6 for adults and $15 for families.