Jacksonville plans to bring a museum back to town

Visitors to southern Oregon know Jacksonville for its frozen-in-time quality, transporting people back to the 1800s.

But the city hasn’t had a museum since 2010, when Jackson County sold the old museum site due to rising maintenance costs.

City Council member Ken Gregg said he had been working on a plan for six months to bring a museum back to the city.

“As an advisor, I pretty much invariably once a week have someone ask me ‘are we ever going to have a museum in Jacksonville?’ And it’s been on my mind for years,” says Gregg. “And that just confirms that we need it.”

Gregg says the currently vacant Old Town Hall building is the perfect museum site. He says that would just be a starting point for the innovative experience.

“I realized that the city itself is a museum,” he says. “That the real value of all significant historical features is in the buildings.”

Gregg plans to create virtual tours using a program called ECHOES, which allows visitors to download an app to their phone and then view photos and historical information as they pass a landmark.

He says that once completed, visitors can choose to choose a specific tour – such as a tour of historic churches, a 30-minute tour or one for people with disabilities – or they can walk around the city and the app will inform them. historically significant buildings nearby.

Gregg says much of the information about the buildings has already been written about, as part of the Walk Through History blog on the Historic Jacksonville Inc. website.

The city recently approved the project to continue and staff will begin to review what needs to be done to begin renovations.

Gregg estimates the total cost of the renovations at around $270,000, with most of the money going toward ensuring the building is ADA accessible.

He plans to fund the renovation through grants and hopes to use funds from the city’s lodging tax for ongoing museum expenses.

Gregg says he is already working with the city on virtual tour development and hopes to have the brick-and-mortar site open within the next two years.

About Carlos V. Mitchell

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