Champaign County Historical Society to seek levy

A levy for the Champaign County Historical Society to expand hours and hire a full-time curator will be on the ballot in November.

The 0.3 mill levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $10.50 a year. It would bring in about $250,000 annually for the historical society, said Dan Walter, president of the Champaign County Historical Society Board of Trustees.

“Our public is asking for a modern museum that they can attend during regular hours — and we are listening,” Walter said in a letter to board members.

Should the levy pass, the funds would be used to hire a full-time curator for the museum, he said, which displays artifacts of Champaign County history. It would also keep the museum’s doors open at least five days a week.

The museum is only open two days a week now, he said.

The society will also consider expanding with the added funds, Walter said.

“We can then improve and expand our facilities in a measured way in order to properly display our existing collections and accept new ones that many are standing by to donate,” Walter said.

Leaders of the historical society also plan to create new youth-based programs, Treasurer Larry Headlee said, to teach young people about local history.

The museum has struggled with perception in Champaign County, Walter said.

“Many people still think we are a private museum accessible by appointment only, if at all,” he said.

The passage of the levy would help to change that perception, he said.

“We would like the museum to be open to the public more often … in order to tell the Champaign County story,” he said.

The museum recently updated displays and launched a new website at www.champaigncountyhistoricalmuseum.org.

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