New volunteers, new layout brings new life to the Amboy museum


AMBOY — Currently without a director, the volunteers serving on the Amboy Depot Museum Commission are taking steps to make the museum a relevant part of the lives of Amboy residents.

Amboy Depot Museum Commissioner Linda Disney said the first thing people will notice when they walk into the museum is the new layout of the gift shop. The former glass cases that was used to display gifts are now being repurposed at the museum’s school house building. In its place is a new shelving unit that house shirts that say Amboy across them. Disney said that replacing the glass cases really opens up the gift shop.

The other new items in the gift shop include three different kinds of model trains, children’s books and nostalgic candy.

Disney said her goal for the gift shop is to be a place where the residents can stop in and purchase a gift instead of leaving town to purchase one. She encourages residents to shop local and support the city of Amboy and the museum. She added that items bought at the museum are tax free because the museum is a non-profit.

More gift items including notecards of the Depot and iconic Amboy sites, are being added.

The remodeled gift shop is only one example of the changes being made at the Depot Museum.

Jack and Loreen Mead volunteered to move the veteran’s items that were located on the second floor of the museum, down to the first floor, allowing for easier access to the items.

Darlene Hinkle has volunteered to coordinate a schedule of volunteers at the museum. Hinkle is scheduling volunteers to work two hours during the weekend at the museum. Disney said volunteers have already spent many hours cleaning the museum and school house.

Disney said that one project they still need help with is cleaning the Freight House. 

Peggy Horstman, Amboy Depot Commissioner, is working on long-range planning for the museum, including setting up bequests. She said it’s her goal to create programs to help ensure the depot’s future. Horstman is also looking at creating new exhibits in the museum. Both Horstman and Disney encourage residents to look through old files and memorabilia and if anything is found, consider donating it to the museum. Disney said she found out when she went through her mother’s home that there was so much history that was saved.

Disney said without volunteers, none of these changes would be possible. She added that volunteers are still needed to help complete even more projects on the list.

The museum also has the space for groups to host meetings. On May 20, the Amboy American Legion hosted their meeting at the museum and presented the museum with an American Flag that was used in the filming of the movie “What They Had.” Members of the Amboy American Legion reenacted their graveside service in the movie which was filmed near Chicago.

Speaking of movies, the Amboy Depot Museum is planning to host two movies this summer.

The push for Amboy High School classes to purchase bricks at the museum was a huge success last year, as 70 bricks were purchased. Disney said they are waiting for a landscaper to give them the date when the bricks will be put into place. She said they are building a new pad down by the School House and will host a dedication at a later date.

During the Amboy Christmas Walk, the museum hosted a wreath auction and made close to $1,000. Disney said they plan to do that auction again this year.