Night at the Museum returns to Heritage Center after 3-year wait



How enthused are the organizers of the Night at the Museum event to present it again for the first time since 2019? Well, 94-year-old Glenna Kadel wants to leave her hospital where she’s recovering from pneumonia to do her portrayal of temperance leader Mother Stewart if she’s not released prior to the event.

Night at the Museum, which takes visitors on a tour to meet actors portraying local historical figures and hear their stories in the city’s historical center, will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Heritage Center of Clark County, 117 S. Fountain Ave. It is hosted by the Clark County Historical Society and George Rogers Clark Heritage Association, and tickets are still available for the scheduled tours.

Although the first Night at the Museum was in 2010, this will be the actual 10th anniversary event because the 2020 version was canceled as pandemic precautions prevented gatherings. While maintaining the historical spirit and the fun people are used to, some things and people have changed, but hopefully for the better said Pam Cottrel, one of the creative forces along with Natalie Fritz, Donna Lewis and Jane Fisher.

“It’s like a play in the museum, walking through a play and interacting with historical figures,” she said. “We want to make history a little more personal and believable.”

Around 60 people are involved, including costumed guides who will take visitors to meet President Theodore Roosevelt, portrayed by Larry Marple, and silent film star Lillian Gish. New additions include a group of young ladies playing people here from the south looking for work during the Great Depression, and a group of 4-H members will present on that organization’s founder, A.B. Graham.

There will also be an attendant at the historical hearse talking about his duties, as well as Joe Kelly, a retired area firefighter telling stories about a firetruck he actually worked on. Live music in each area will also enhance the experience as well as cookies based on historical recipes handed down by a previous participant.

Cottrel said it’s that type of dedication that made organizers determined to bring Night at the Museum back. Although some previous participants couldn’t make it back, she looks at the positives such as Fritz’s daughter participating by wearing a 1950s poodle skirt that her mom wore during one of the first events, continuing the tradition.

Cottrel said she likes the cooperation between the host groups and that visitors can learn about other such events different historical groups sponsor.

Tours are based on timeslots on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors are asked to arrive 10-15 minutes before their tours and can purchase tickets on the Heritage Center’s Facebook page.

Proceeds will be split between the host organizations and go toward operating expenses and events like the Fair at New Boston, to be held in late summer.

“We’re thrilled to have it back. We don’t know if it will, but hope we can keep it annual,” Cottrel said.


What: Night at the Museum

Where: Heritage Center of Clark County, 117 S. Fountain Ave., Springfield

When: Saturday, April 22, 6-10 p.m.

Admission: $15 adults, $5 students under 18; children under 5 admitted free

More info: 937-324-0657 or go to

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