Inside the Peoria Riverfront Museum

DeWayne Bartels

Area media today were given a sneak peek inside the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

The structural skeleton and skin of the Peoria Riverfront Museum are rising on the shore of the Illinois River.

This museum will chronicle the story of the Illinois River Valley — its history, its people and how the residents of the Tri-County Region impacted it and how it impacted them.  

Man has called this valley home for more than 10,000 years, dating back to when the glaciers of the last Ice Age retreated. The museum plans to trace that history.

However, there will be more than history at the museum.

Science and the arts will be celebrated there.

The Illinois High School Association will celebrate sports and more there.

These buildings, while going up in Peoria, are a testament to the story of the entire Tri-County Region.

Jim Richerson, president and CEO of Lakeview and the Peoria Riverfront Museums, said this project has been 12 years in the making.

The structure is huge as it takes shape. Today it is 265 days from opening.

Richerson met the media in the parking deck. The deck at more than 50,000 square feet is almost twice as large as the existing Lakeview Museum.

Richerson said the parking deck will feature several electric car charging stations powered by solar cells on the roof of the planetarium.

The structure, still under construction both inside and outside, started as just an idea.

It took years to get it to the point of a referendum to Peoria voters. The referendum passed in April 2009.

Groundbreaking on the site, which was the former Sears store in Peoria, took place in September 2010.

The grand opening of the structure is scheduled for Oct. 20, 2012.

Richerson, at the conclusion of the media tour said, “This facility to me comes down to two words — creativity and innovation.”

Go to the photo gallery section and local video section to see pictures and videos from the tour.