ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — One of the largest military training facilities in the U.S., Camp Grant, opened in Rockford in 1917 and played a big role in shaping the future of the city.

Camp Grant originally covered 5,000 acres on land upon which the Chicago Rockford International Airport sits today.

Midway Village Museum is developing a new, permanent exhibit to tell the story of Camp Grant, and launched a $525,000 fundraising campaign Wednesday to pay for the construction of the exhibit.

Midway Village has a large collection of artifacts from the Camp Grant Museum, which closed in 2020.

Photo: Midway Village Museum

Community members are invited to share Camp Grant artifacts and stories that will become part of the permanent collection.

The exhibit will be titled “You’re in the Army Now: Camp Grant, Rockford’s Legacy.”

“There is so much about the development of Camp Grant during World War I and during World War II that changed the development of even just the infrastructure of Rockford,” said Laura Furman, curator at Midway Village. “It changed the demographics of Rockford. It laid the groundwork for what we now have as the Rockford Airport.”