A Message From The New Director:
For the past two years the Centralia Area historical Museum has enjoyed renewed interest from area groups, visitors, and patrons under the apt stewardship of Allison Austin during her time as director of the museum. Allison has made the decision to relinquish her position as director to pursue new occupational endeavors, but has accepted a position on the board of directors to continue her interest and support for the museum. She has been a dedicated and energetic director who has developed several strong initiatives that would benefit anyone accepting the job.
As an introduction to everyone, I have been hired by the board of directors of the museum for the position as director. Allison’s shoes are going to be hard to fill. However, I am looking forward to the challenge. I have Allison’s lead to follow and she has been invaluable in introducing me to the position. She has been exceedingly generous with her time, advice, and direction these past few week. She has given me her phone number and has said to call her anytime I have questions. But she said, jokingly –I think- that it might not be the right number. But she only lives three blocks away!
My background was originally in business. I graduated from Centralia Junior College. I know, Kaskaskia College now. But I also tell everyone I graduated from Centralia Township High School. I married Ron Hartley and moved back to Grand Prairie Township in Jefferson County near my grandparent’s home. We farmed and grew strawberries and peaches. In the 1990’s I returned to school and graduated with a Masters in Speech Language Pathology. I taught in the school systems for 20 years before retiring. I am a history and genealogy nut, so working in this position really excites me.
A new board member chosen at this month’s meeting is Lendell Fullerton. With his familiarity with museum design, Lendell will be a valuable asset. The fact that Lendell is from rural Marion County along with several other of our other board members – and two from Clinton County , shout out to Jeff and Travis- points out something that I would like to explore more as director. While the museum was conceived by, started by and developed by Centralia residents, the idea of drawing on other communities in the area for sponsors, patrons, and volunteers has been promoted and I would like to continue that plan. This in no way would take away from our loyal supporters in Centralia that we depend on so much. Any way to enhance the value of our museum and all of our collections and share with as many people as possible would be beneficial.
I also hope to contact more schools, classes, and groups for tours, projects, or programs that would either include meetings at the museum or using the information and resources that we have for their benefit. That might be coming from my school-teacher-mind-set.
Stop by and see us at the museum. Meet the volunteers that frequent it. We also have a very diverse and skilled board of directors. Remind yourself of what displays we have. Even volunteer if you can. We need and welcome all of the support we can get. Our hours are Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 10:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M. Charlotte Hartley, Director, Centralia Area Historical Museum.
We have a room dedicated to the Centralia mine disaster which occurred on March 25, 1947. Learn More
The second floor of the museum features many items dedicated to the history of athletics in the area. Learn More
The first floor features many items dedicated to the history of the railroad, in which the town also gets its name from the Illinois Central Railroad. Read More