Museum News

Museum to Reopen Reenvisioned Merwin Gallery

October 30th, 2023

Museum to Reopen Reenvisioned Merwin Gallery, Increase Collections’ Accessibility


Micaela Harris, Director of Communications at 309-825-5296 or


For Immediate Release

Bloomington, Ill. (October 26, 2023) – The McLean County Museum of History will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony and public reception on Friday, November 3, from 5-8 p.m. to celebrate the reopening of the Merwin Gallery during the 23rd Annual Art Walk and Downtown Bloomington's First Friday festivities.

The reenvisioned Merwin Gallery features almost 300 objects from the Museum's 18,000+ object collection. In this non-static display space, objects from the collection will be moved into and out of the gallery regularly so visitors can return again and again, always to see something new.


Similarly to most museums across the world, the McLean County Museum of History only displays about 3% of its collection in its exhibits. Support from the Merwin Foundation has allowed the Museum to effectively increase this percentage twofold, making the Museum's extensive collection more accessible to all.


The Museum's collection documents all facets of life in McLean County. From the indigenous peoples here pre-colonization to today, the collection strives to represent diverse individuals from every social, economic, religious, and ethnic background who call McLean County home. It also reflects the broader history of the United States, as the struggles and triumphs of our community are a microcosm of a larger national narrative.


Each object in the Merwin Gallery has a unique QR code linking it to the Museum's Online Collections Database containing more information, historical context, biographical information about the people who interacted with the object, and any related business or organizational history.


Previously, the database was only for internal use, but over the past year, Museum staff have worked tirelessly to create a public-facing platform and research tool. The Museum plans to formally launch the site in mid-November with over 800 featured object records, the Merwin Gallery section being one of many curated object selections.



The McLean County Museum of History is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to preserving, educating, and collaborating to share the diverse stories of the people of McLean County. For more information, please visit or stop by our nationally accredited museum located in the heart of historic downtown Bloomington on the Museum Square.

Micaela Harris

Director of Communications

Contact Micaela