Three years after being reborn, and after hauling the collection from one spot to another, the Historical Society of Forest Park has finally acquired an exhibit space to display its artifacts and photos.
The society will throw a grand opening event, Saturday, for its first-ever museum space at the First United Church of Christ, 1000 Elgin Ave.
The debut exhibit, “Forest Park: A Love Story” will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“This will be the first time there will be museum space to tell the whole story of Forest Park’s earliest beginnings and different facets of the past,” said Executive Director Diane Hansen Grah.
“The museum is important because we have 40 hours of display in a given year for a museum grant from the American Association for State and Local History,” Grah said.
Artifacts and photos have been exhibited temporarily around town, most recently in glass cases in the lower level of village hall.
The dormant Historical Society was reconstituted with new officers in 2012 and artifacts and files were moved from the home of then-president Rich Vitton. The collection was moved to donated office space upstairs at 7415 Madison St.
In May 2012, the society moved to St. Peter’s Church and made known its desire to acquire the church, but they could not afford to pay for it.
In 2013, St. Peter’s was acquired by Mount Moriah Baptist Congregation. Although the society was allowed to keep office space in the church, both organizations discovered they didn’t have enough space. Some larger artifacts were transported to storage offsite.
In 2014, the village of Forest Park offered office space in an unfinished village-owned apartment building at 7608 Adams St. The office is currently being remodeled and will be available by summer. Other artifacts were moved to First United in the past couple of weeks.