After 120 years, Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum receives a makeover

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Last year had many ups and downs, but it was a year of renovations for Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum, 211 N Main St.

Scott Lewandowski, the museum’s director, said that improvements will continue into 2022, and also showed off a sneak peek at some of the updates. With the museum being over 120-years-old, it comes with a lot of up keep.

“We were lucky enough to get a company to come in and do the work on the actual building,” said Leanne Wright, a Curator at Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum. “The Bedford limestone, the steps, the windows, the doors. A company who is familiar with historic renovation.”

The Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum is a place to preserve, display and share veteran’s stories, and the historical landmark is currently undergoing a bit of a makeover.

“Restore our windows and paint them, and fix, they’re wood windows, so they do rot and they’ve been repaired,” Lewandowski said. “The entire limestone building has been pressured washed and tucked pointed, all the cracks have been filled.”

This is just the start, according to Lewandowski.

“Our goal is to keep the historical integrity of the building intact, but yet you do want to have it accessible to everyone,” Lewandowski said.

However, renovating a historic landmark is not like building a new house. Wright said that they have to make sure to follow the National Register guidelines.

“It was built from local Bedford limestone,” Wright said. “We didn’t have automobiles, we didn’t have the kind of soot and the kind of air pollution that we have now days, and its very damaging to the limestone of this building.”

They also wanted to make sure that everyone has access to the museum, to make sure that the stories of veterans can continue to be remembered.

“That what we are here to talk about is the stories of these people, and as along as we can keep this building, which is our number one artifact going, and keep it in good shape, that’s what we are going to do,” Wright said.

The museum was given several local and state grants to pay for the preservation.

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