The Galena-Jo Daviess County Historical Society has been awarded a $260,000 Capital Campaign Challenge Grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation of Janesville, Wis. The grant will match a portion of funds the Society raises for rehabilitation of the Stillman Mansion, which will complement a larger $8.6 million plan to relocate the current museum from its 19th century home on Bench Street to a new 21st century building.
“We’re absolutely thrilled the Jeffris Foundation has selected our project,” said Nancy Breed, executive director of the Historical Society. “To have an out-of-state entity significantly support our endeavor is evidence that our story is much larger than Galena and Illinois.”
The Jeffris Family Foundation assists the development of historic sites for non-profit organizations in small towns and cities in the Midwest. Only sites of national or statewide significance are considered.
“I have witnessed many small organizations and local governments that struggle to support and preserve historic buildings that have given their communities a sense of place,” said Thomas Jeffris, president of the Jeffris Family Foundation. “Our Foundation has a commitment to assist dedicated communities with funding opportunities designed to preserve their architectural heritage for future generations. We are excited to work with the Galena-Jo Daviess County Historical Society to ensure a first class restoration of the Stillman Mansion that will make us all proud.”
In 2018 the Jeffris Family Foundation assisted in funding a Historic Structures Report, which provides guidance for future decision making with regard to the rehabilitation, use, and maintenance of the Stillman Mansion and grounds using National Park Service and Secretary of the Interior guidelines. Additionally, the report addresses owner goals for use or reuse of the property, provides recommendations for selecting the most appropriate treatment approach, and outlines a prioritized scope of work.
Final design plans for the Stillman site and the new museum are expected to be complete by year end. The new building will house the museum galleries and collection; the 1858 Stillman Mansion will host multipurpose space, administrative offices, and a catering kitchen. Together, they will create a museum campus in the historic Bouthillier Street neighborhood.
Funding for the Jeffris Challenge Grant must be raised within three years of the grant award. A capital campaign is being planned.
“This is the first of many grants we hope will support our ambitious project,” stated Breed. “We have nearly two million dollars in federal grant applications pending, with award decisions expected by early 2020. A city with great history deserves a great history museum. We are grateful to the Jeffris Family Foundation for leading the way toward an exciting new future for our organization which will have a positive impact for our entire region.”