Letter: Vote ‘yes’ for museum district

Dear Editor and Douglas County Voters,

Thirty-three years ago Bob Hastings, Lynnita Aldridge Brown, and I went to Champaign to establish the Douglas County Museum. We had no money, no building, no members, just enthusiasm and youth. Bob had a newspaper to run, I had seven children to raise, so Lynnita did the majority of the work trying to get us organized – finding a building, getting money and volunteers – and she did it without pay. I helped as much as I could by baking pies for fundraisers. With volunteers we found a good building – one story, handicapped accessible, and with space to host large farm exhibits; such as 14 tractors for a farm show.

The museum still struggles financially and lacks young volunteers to help. YOU have a chance to help by voting “YES” for the referendum to become a Douglas County Historical Museum District in the upcoming election. Lacking our support, the museum will likely close. If it does, none of the existing artifacts will stay here in Douglas County, none can be sold at auction, none can be given back to the donors. Everything we worked so hard to acquire will go to another museum somewhere in Illinois. Douglas County items will be lost forever. Please vote “YES” so the museum can remain open for another 30-some years (or more). And, volunteer to help!

The museum has had beautiful and unique exhibits – military, children’s toys, quilts, farm implements, motorcycles (a favorite) – and annually hosts “Breakfast with Santa.” If you’ve never visited the museum – shame on you. Go see it. Attend a program. But, most of all vote “YES’ for the referendum to become a Douglas County Historical Museum District and keep our museum open.

Lucille Murray