Downers Grove Museum receives Best Practices Award from the Association of Midwest Museums
The Association of Midwest Museums has recognized the Downers Grove Museum with the Best Practices Award for their work on the completed renovation of the 1846 Blodgett House.
The Best Practices Award recognizes museums and cultural organizations whose innovative projects or community partnerships and collaborations have pushed beyond the status quo and led to the advancement of best museum practices.
Downers Grove Park District officially celebrated the completed renovation of the 1846 Blodgett House located at the Downers Grove Museum campus on July 14, 2022. The restoration of the house was 15 years in the making through a partnership between the Downers Grove Park District and the Downers Grove Heritage Preservation Corporation. Built in 1846 by abolitionists Israel and Avis Blodgett, the 1846 Blodgett House is believed to have been an active stop on the Underground Railroad.
The preservation project consisted of moving the building onto the Downers Grove Museum campus, reinforcing building walls and floors, and the addition of exhibits to the interior of the building. Felicia Camacho, Recreation Supervisor of Historical Programming for the Downers Grove Park District said that the District's goal was to increase the cultural impact that the museum has on the surrounding communities by serving as an education center for schools and illuminating Downers Grove's heritage as a part of the Underground Railroad.
"The 1846 Blodgett House welcomed 2,383 visitors in 2022, and visitorship and program participation has continued to grow," Camacho said. "The Downers Grove Museum is proud of our efforts to share the story of the Blodgett family and the Underground Railroad with our visitors and the community."
In 2023, the house was accepted into the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, which honors, preserves and promotes the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, which continues to inspire people worldwide.
The Association of Midwest Museums will host a Best Practices Award Virtual Event to celebrate the restoration of the 1846 Blodgett House on Nov. 16, from 4:00 to 4:45pm. This event will be held via Zoom and requires advance registration available at midwestmuseums.org.
To learn more about visiting the 1846 Blodgett House at the Downers Grove Museum campus, visit www.dgparks.org/downers-grove-museum.