This Sunday, the Grand River Historical Society Museum will open its doors for the annual spring open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Among the historical exhibits, visitors will also see some new changes and additions.

This Sunday, the Grand River Historical Society Museum will open its doors for the annual spring open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Among the historical exhibits, visitors will also see some new changes and additions.
The cell phone tour is up and running. Visitors of the museum can dial 660-240-3001 on their cell phones and follow instructions. A recording by Museum Curator Pam Clingerman will be heard, and explanations of each exhibit will be provided. Not only is this accessible to people actually visiting the museum, but people can call the number and listen to the exhibit descriptions from the comfort of their own home. Clingerman said the cell phone tour was completed near the end of February, and is a good addition to the museum.
Attendees of Sunday's open house will also notice the refurbished WWI, WWII and Korean War cases. The lights in the cases have now been filtered to prevent UV damage to the artifacts. New signage and new mannikins have also been installed in the cases. Chillicothe High School students are in the process of working on a WWI diorama depicting the trenches and trench warfare, which will hopefully be done and in place at the museum by Sunday.
The Law and Order exhibit has been redone, and to several other exhibits have been moved around to better the historical organization of the exhibits. Clingerman said the purpose of the open house is to draw people in from the community and gain their interest.
“We just want people to come out and support the museum and enjoy what is a little gem in the community,” Clingerman said.
She added that though museum attendance is something that is always up and down, it has probably tripled in the past four years.
“In the last month we've had way over 100 people,” Clingerman said. “That's really great for a small community.”
Part of the increase in attendance lately stems from the bread slicer currently on loan from the Smithsonian Institute, which was installed in the museum in July of 2013.
“Last week people came in from Kansas, and they walked in the door and the first thing they said is, ‘Where's the bread slicer?’” Clingerman recalled. “They had seen the documentary on television and so they came over just to see the bread slicer. They toured the whole museum and thought it was amazing.”
Though the museum's attendance has gone up lately, Clingerman said that they are in the process of talking with MoDOT about creating new signs advertising the museum and its location due to its location and the many people that get lost on their way to it.
“Our signs say ‘the best kept secret in Chillicothe,’” Clingerman laughed. “So many people come and say they had no idea there was a museum in Chillicothe and they'd lived here forever. We have our own signs and we take those out and put them up when the museum is open, but it's cumbersome.”
The Grand River Historical Society Museum began as just the Grand River Historical Society that met on the third floor of the library. Its first meeting was held Nov. 16, 1954. Later, the main part of the museum, which was originally the garage of Chillicothe Business College, was donated to the historical society. The meetings moved to that location, and the historical society could store their historical donations there. In 1988 the museum added on the second and third exhibit halls to the main building, and the annex was added at a later date.
Originally the museum was only open on Saturdays and Sundays from April through October. About two years ago, Clingerman said they began opening the museum on Wednesday afternoons and that the past year they have kept the museum open year-round.
The museum is now open every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. with the exception of holidays. Clingerman said that even on days when the museum isn't scheduled to be open, if people ring the doorbell wanting to visit the museum and she is there, she will let them in.
The open house this Sunday will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. with light refreshments served. For more information on museum events and exhibits, contact the museum at 660-646-1341.