A Publication of WTVP

Monday, October 10 was a landmark day for the Museum Collaboration Group and the entire region. More than 300 dignitaries, museum supporters, and others watched the start of demolition on the old Sears Block.

Giant Caterpillar machines attacked the parking lot at the corner of Main and Water to begin the long-awaited demolition. By the end of the year, the place for Museum Square will be evident as the old buildings and parking structures disappear.

In the months since Caterpillar and the museum group chose the same architect to design the project—Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership of Portland, Ore., and local partners PSA/Dewberry and Clark/STS Engineering, along with N.E. Finch, R.A. Cullinan, and BJB Enterprises—massive amounts of work have gone into the planning. The new site plan recently released details about how the regional museum and the Caterpillar Visitor Center will be situated, and it gives the first glimpse of how the architecture will articulate the site and place a gem in its central Illinois setting.

With ZGF, we’re working with a world-class architectural firm that’s had resounding success with museum buildings and corporate projects around the globe. Most recently, they completed the newly opened Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines. Our museum colleagues have been most generous in sharing their experiences, and we’ve learned much from them as we follow their path through planning, design, and, in the next few years, building.

Working together, the museum partners—Lakeview Museum, Caterpillar, Peoria Historical Society, Peoria Regional Museum Society, African-American Hall of Fame Museum, the Illinois High School Association, the Heartland Foundation, and the Nature Conservancy—have achieved a level of cooperation and collaboration that’s unparalleled.

Watch this winter for more exciting news as we unveil architectural plans that will present a true icon for the region. Also this winter, the museum group will begin to develop a name that will reflect the new mission, including art, history, science, and nature. This will be our story, and the museum will be our showcase to tell that story to the whole world. IBI