PLEASANT HILL, Ill. -- The Harman House Museum no longer has to contend with the limited space issues it has faced for the past few years.
The Pleasant Hill museum held a dedication ceremony on Oct. 13 for its new 1,800-square-foot expansion -- an almost year-long project completed at the end of August. The project expanded the three floors of the museum to allow for more space for exhibits -- like the more than 10,000 local obituaries, many dating back to the 1800s, the museum houses -- and to create space for future donations and loans.
"We were getting pretty crowded before," Harman House Board President Lynn Guthrie said. "This gives us a little more elbow room."
The Harman House Museum was founded in 1996 when Helen Harman, a teacher from Pleasant Hill and only child, donated her home to the village upon her death. The village maintained ownership of the property until two years ago when the nonprofit Harman House Museum Inc. was incorporated to provide upkeep for the facility.
The expansion was made possible by a "generous donation" from James W. Yokem, a Pleasant Hill native who now lives in Roseville, Ill., Guthrie said.
"We hope this will keep the museum going for a long time," Guthrie said. "We would like to see more kids coming to the museum. Some school kids go there to do research, and people look up their genealogy there, but we would like to see a lot more people take advantage of it."
The 19th-century home also displays a veterans memorial wall, many vintage dresses, old photographs and newspaper clippings, and antique medical equipment. The museum at 208 Harman St. does not have set hours of operation. Contact numbers for the eight board members are posted at the museum, and it is open by request.
Because the Harman House Museum Inc. is a nonprofit, donations made the museum are tax deductible.