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Arsenal Museum Renovation Begins in April

Rock Island Arsenal Museum
one of the current displays at the Arsenal Museum

Work is underway to prepare the Rock Island Arsenal Museum for a major renovation - the first in over 50 years.

Credit Rock Island Arsenal Museum

Director Patrick Allie says the 1.5 million dollar project will officially start in April, and be completed by the fall of next year (2022). It'll result in what he calls a "night and day transformation."

"It'll be completely renovated, floor to ceiling, to modernize the space. So we'll be incorporating various pieces and media interactives - those sorts of things that the public expects out of a museum these days."

He says the Army has a total of 47 museums - all the others are dedicated to specific units or branches, while the Arsenal Museum is the only one that tells the history of Army manfacturing.

"A lot of our history and a lot of our products are largely related to artillery pieces, cannons, those sorts of things, as well as vehicles. And then more recently doing a lot of work on armor kits for humvees, and we do some small arms parts today, but again it's not a huge part of the Arsenal's overall history."

Credit Rock Island Arsenal Museum
Allie says don't worry, the horse is staying and will be on display when the museum re-opens

"All of the workers in the factory, most of them are civilians, today and over the course of the history of the Arsenal. So it's really a Quad Cities story."

Even though the museum will not re-open until late next year, Allie says renovation updates and exhibit previews will be posted on its Facebook page and website. Updating the Arsenal Museum is part of the Army's five-year effort to modernize all of its museums.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.