Battle Creek Regional History Museum Re-Opens this Weekend
It’s been a year since the Battle Creek Regional History Museum (BCRHM) has been open to the public, but that doesn’t mean things haven’t been happening. A lot has been happening at the museum at 307 West Jackson Street.
Board members Robb Gillespie and T.R. Shaw were guests on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins to talk about what they’ve been doing, and about this weekend’s re-opening. “We’ve been able to take advantage of closing up the shop and starting to rebuild,” said Gillespie. “About three-quarters of the building has been empty. It has not been up to code, so we’ve taken some time this year to do some fundraising and grant writing.”
The code issues are being addressed with the installation of a sprinkler system and work on the building wiring. The design plan has been finalized, and there’s a new entrance on the west side of the museum off the main parking lot. There will be a new lobby. There will be a museum store and a warming kitchen area for catered events. The current lobby at the front of the building will be redone and built out for displays that are more temporary or for regional kinds of things that come and go.
Gillespie says work is continuing, but their goal is to be done by June when they’ll begin moving in the Historical Society of Battle Creek’s archives. That archive is currently housed in the basement of Bronson’s Fieldstone Center.
“Another thing we’ve done is taken out our small education room and replaced it with a joint education research center that’s about five times the size”, said Gillespie. “This will allow us to take advantage of the archives and be able to hold programs and do workshops and have it open to the public.”
The museum acquired the Duff Stoltz collection of Battle Creek Sanitarium and Cereal memorabilia and they’re cataloging that. The west side of the building sports a mural that was moved from the Fort Custer Industrial Park’s Port of Entry Building (now BCU). The original artist added panels to the mural that recognize the early Native American history of our area.
Gillespie says the display portion of the museum will be built out and will evolve over the next two to three years. “We’re looking at doing hands-on audio/video type of displays--things that will personalize the experience for people. If people have old audio or video that they’d like to donate, we’re a non-profit 501-3C, so it’s tax-deductible. Bring it on down.”
T.R. Shaw recently joined the board of the Battle Creek Regional History Museum and noted that the potential is so great because of the incredible history that Battle Creek has. “Battle Creek probably has the very best history of any community in Michigan,” said Shaw. “Not just cereal, not just health care, but also manufacturing of threshing machines and tractors. Music history is huge here too.”
Gillespie says it’s a good time for people in Battle Creek to step up and embrace their history. “We’re in a very unique position right now with our fund-raising, and our rental income and everything. Despite all the build-out that we’re doing, we are only $20,000 short of paying off the building. We have until August to come up with that $20,000.”
- Who: The Battle Creek Regional History Museum
- What: Re-Opening this Weekend
- When: Saturday, March 6th, 10 am-5 pm and Sunday, March 7th, noon-5pm
- Where: 307 West Jackson Street, Battle Creek
- Why: To showcase and preserve Battle Creek’s great history
- How: Donate online by clicking here.