Dr. Ruth Towne Museum Project Nears Construction Phase

Plans are moving forward to establish the Ruth Warner Towne Museum and Visitors Center at Truman State University.

The St. Louis-based architectural firm of HKW has completed a schematic design study to convert the former Kirksville Fire Station into a museum and visitors center. The plan has been approved by Truman’s Board of Governors and is now in the final design stages.

The project will be let for bids late in fall 2007, with construction to follow. An estimated grand opening will follow at a date to be determined.

In addition, Focus Communications has been retained to assist the University with the design and development of the museum’s content. The firm has extensive experience in working with museums in the Midwest.

The 8,600 square foot multi-purpose facility will house the Ruth Warner Towne Museum and the University Office of Admissions. The building provides for offices and meeting space and functions as a welcoming environment to greet prospective students to the campus.

The joint Museum-Admissions combination takes advantage of the Museum as a place for students and parents to become acquainted with Truman State University and its rich heritage. Additionally, the Museum will be available to the general public and any visitor to campus to view the exhibits. The Museum will also host select University receptions and gatherings.

“This will be a wonderful first impression of the entire University,” said University President Barbara Dixon. “We have a beautiful campus, but this facility will serve as our welcome center, a place that radiates excitement and learning.”

Approximately 4,000 square feet will be devoted to the Museum which will feature multi-media and electronic exhibits that are changing, dynamic and interactive. The space will also serve as an educational resource and learning environment for Truman students and professors, as well as regional school-age children.

The Museum will also offer the University an opportunity to consolidate its museums system and collections, including the EM Violette Museum, as well as the development of an overall museums strategic plan.

The facility will be financed through a combination of private gifts and University funds. The naming gift was received through a one million dollar bequest from Dr. Ruth Towne in December 1999. A portion of Towne’s bequest was earmarked for construction, with the majority designated as endowment to provide a lasting resource for museum operations and improvements.

At the time, Towne’s bequest was the largest gift ever received by the University. She retired from Truman in 1988 as professor emeritus of history and dean emeritus of graduate studies following a 36-year teaching career at the University.
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