New museum doors open

By Denise Jackson

October 20, 2012 Updated Oct 20, 2012 at 10:11 PM CDT

PEORIA,IL--After more than a decade of planning, waiting and fundraising, The doors officially opened Saturday at the new Peoria Riverfront Museum. Several museum staff greeted the first group of visitors.

There was an awful lot of pomp and circumstance outside of the front doors prior to the 10 o'clock opening of the new Peoria riverfront museum Saturday morning, beginning with a drum roll from the ELITE drumline.

Museum executive director Jim Richerson was there to welcome the first group of visitors inside the new facility.

Ryan Kuro who lives on the north side of Peoria spent the night in a downtown hotel so that he could be the first one to buy a museum ticket.

"I've been at every significant milestone, the groundbreaking, the first beam. Last month when they opened the place up it was very neat to see it all come together. Having visited museums in London and other world cities I'm interested to see how this measures up," Kuro said.

After two attempts to build a museum this third time is a charm for Peoria, city and county official, and Caterpillar on the 140-million dollar project.

"The success is really getting people to collaborate and work together instead of pulling apart. You know somebody wants their own facility or own whatever. I think getting a bunch of people to work together we were able to pull it off," said Peoria Riverfront Museum Chair Dave Ransburg.

Plenty of people were checking out the results. Inside the Street gallery visitors were seeing and hearing stories about Peoria history with help from civil war dressed characters.

"It's actually amazing this is my first stop coming to the museum and just to see the things on the way you have like French Peoria," said Chavonte McKinley of Peoria.

For action crowd there was plenty of it inside the IHSA Interactive game room. Ty Wilkson and his brother didn't waste any time jumping into the games.

"I thought it was really cool because I haven't seen anything like it before and it's really unique because it's something that you can test and I've never tested before," he said.

Like many here this is the first visit to the new museum, and with this much fun on just opening day Wilkinson and his family from Putnam County say it certainly will not be their last.

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