Destination Illinois: Peoria Riverfront Museum

Destination Illinois - Central

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria Riverfront Museum (PRM) sits — appropriately enough — alongside the Illinois River. It’s a bit of an odd duck as museums go. It’s not an art museum or a history museum, it’s those and more.

“The Peoria Riverfront Museum is the only museum of art, science, history, and achievement in the nation, all for the purpose of inspiring people. It’s just a fun place to visit,” said PRM Director John Morris.

Currently on display are the anthropomorphic paintings of artist Ken Hoffman, with suit-wearing dogs and a portrait of the artist as a butterfly.

In another gallery, the abstract sculpture by Ronald Bladen is on display.

Another hall shows off Peoria’s history. An early automobile, made in 1898 by Peorian Charles Duryea, tells of a time when the first horseless carriages were not so far away from their horse-drawn predecessors. The only other known example of this car is in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

In another part of the museum, Peoria sculptor Preston Jackson assembled his huge tribute to African American history: “Bronzeville to Harlem” which opens in the fall.

A photo gallery in the museum displays the startling work of wildlife photographer Thomas Mangelsen called “A Life in the Wild”.

There’s a display of that most American art form — the duck decoy. Invented by Native Americans and adopted by Europeans, early decoys now sell for thousands of dollars.

There is also a giant screen movie theater showing first-run films. Also in the museum is the Dome Planetarium which has four different shows daily.

The museum requires guests to wear face masks and to maintain 6-foot social distancing. It’s open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Timed tickets are available on the museum website as well as by phone and in-person.

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