Please help us raise $500,000 to protect the Museum's collection.
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Donations can also be mailed to PO Box 8096, St. Joseph, MO 64508
Or dropped off at 3406 Frederick Ave., St. Joseph, MO 64506
The St. Joseph Museums
Unveil Capital Improvements Plan
funds to be used for a new climate control system, new roofs, and building upgrades
January 31, 2019 — After organizing over 90 years ago as a children’s museum, the St. Joseph Museums are now undertaking a capital campaign to help fund a new climate control system and make other repairs to their Frederick Avenue Site. The site houses the Museums’ collections, so a state-of-the-art climate control system and new roofs for the buildings are critical to maintaining the safety of the irreplaceable 200,000 items in the collections.
The St. Joseph Museums’ focus expanded from a children’s museum to include the native peoples in the St. Joseph area with the acquisition of the Harry L. George Native American Collection in the 1940s. Since 1949, the St. Joseph Museum has served as the City’s municipal museum and is the repository of the area’s history. William Goetz and the Goetz Brewing Co. played an integral role in the Museums’ growth by providing funds for the initial purchase of the Wyeth-Tootle Mansion. In 1972 the St. Joseph Museums achieved accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). The museum was among the first 16 institutions to achieve that status and it was reaccredited in 2013.
Having outgrown the Wyeth-Tootle Mansion many years ago, the St. Joseph Museums board began to explore new possibilities for housing the collections and installing exhibits. It also began to assume responsibility for other collections, such as the Knea-Von Black Archives Museum in 2001. In 2004, the St. Joseph State Hospital was relocated and the Glore Psychiatric Museum was slated to be closed and moved to St. Louis, Missouri. With the intervention of local state legislators, St. Joseph was able to keep that collection and the offices of the St. Joseph Museums were transferred to the Frederick Avenue Site. This move made more space available for delicate items in the collection and the buildings offered safer, climate controlled storage. When the Edmund J. Eckel architectural drawings and correspondence files were donated to the St. Joseph Museums in 2007, followed by the Society of Memories Doll Museum collection in 2011, the Museums were again dealing with the need for storage space.
The Frederick Avenue Site’s two buildings were constructed in 1923 and 1968 and remain in good repair, but the heating and cooling system needs to be replaced after more than 50 years of use. The roofs are also due for replacement. The adjacent Woodson Building, scheduled for demolition, has near-new cooling equipment that has been donated to the St. Joseph Museums. However, it will require $200,000 for installation and other upgrades. Combined with the cost of new roofing, other building repairs, and contingencies, the Museums’ Board of Trustees is now working to raise $500,000.
To date, the St. Joseph Museums have received stocks or pledges and donations from 51 individuals and companies for a total of $436,748. Due to the urgent need of the repairs, the St. Joseph Museums Capital Campaign committee members are hoping donors will respond to the need quickly so that repairs can begin for the safety of the collections.