Peoria Riverfront Museum reopens since closing in March, highlights new installation from Preston Jackson

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The doors are back open Saturday at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. It’s been closed to the public since November due to COVID-19.

“I read it in the newspaper this morning and then I saw that it said ‘today’s the first day, open at 10,” said Mavis Young, museum member. “I was the second person here… I just couldn’t wait.”

Inside the museum is a new permanent exhibit, “From Bronzeville to Harlem: An American Story,” by Peoria-based artist Preston Jackson.

At a press conference held on Friday, Jackson and museum CEO John Morris signed documentation certifying the installation as a gift to the museum. It will now be a part of the permanent collection.

“Personally, I have always felt neglected… in the city,” Jackson said. “So this was an opportunity for me to exhibit not only the work but my beliefs.”

“From Bronzeville to Harlem” has been in the works for 25 years.

Museum members say they are excited to be back and face to face with the art and the new collections.

“It’s hard to find things that you feel like you can do safely right now. And I came right when they opened and it wasn’t too busy and new exciting stuff to see. So, it was exciting!” said museum member Rachel Mangiapane. “I think there’s lots to do in Peoria, you just have to look a little bit. And the museum is one of those great finds.”

Mavis Young said she has been coming to the museum for a very long time.

“This exhibit is one of the best I’ve seen since this museum opened up,” Young said.

Bill Conger, the museum’s chief curator, said it is time to showcase Peoria’s talent again.

“These objects are bigger than the show that they’re in. They’re symbolic of our town. And it’s very important people see them.”

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