Give Our History a Home

Park Forest, Illinois

Desired Services
Facilities Needs Assessment,Capital Campaign Materials,Building & Space Identification

Project Description

The Park Forest Historical Society operates the 1950s Park Forest House Museum in an original rental townhome, furnished as it might have looked in 1948-1950. The archive collection developed by the library over 27 years, is now "homeless", stored in PODS out of town. The society can take possession of the collection if we can find a suitable building to rehab to hold the collection and provide a public research area. We have been seriously considering leasing and retrofitting one of two buildings in the original shopping center--one of the first in the country. We have also considered purchasing or leasing a 4-unit of the townhomes, to have the museum and archive contiguous. We are prepapring to do a feasibility study for launching a nationwide fundraising campaign, "Give Our HIstory a Home.". It is estimated 200,000 people have lived in Park Forest over its 60 years, and most consider their time here to be the "golden" time of their lives. The project, at this time, is to do a feasibility needs assessment/ capital campaign. We need help with evaluating the sites, and preparing plans. In the case of townhome use for the archive, we would need a structural engineer's survey for load-bearing capacity.

As of November 1, 2007, we have applied for an Illinois Association of Museums grant to pay for a fundraising consultant to help us with the feasibility study. We have been constructing a projected operating budget, and will be working on a business plan. We will know about the grant by January 2008, and will be proceding from there. Because we have taken on a new museum site for which we pay a low rent and utilities, and still have to pay storage for contents of our office and second museum unit, it is imperative that our fundraising campaign get under way as early as possible. We are also at the mercy of the library board, who is currently paying for PODS storage of two containers holding the archival collection. Only a few records are held as originals or in duplicate form in the public library, and we have access to the photograph collection. We do not have access to our digital project as our computer is in storage. We must Give Our History a Home as soon as we can.