Czech Museum asking for public input on its future - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Czech Museum asking for public input on its future

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - An Eastern Iowa museum damaged by flood waters plans to reopen, but it may be in an entirely different location.

The public will play a key role in deciding the future of Cedar Rapids' National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library.

Not much has changed on the outside, but look inside the museum, and it's chilling to realize that this building was under 8 feet of water almost one year ago.

"Before we knew the extent of the damage, the staff had gotten together, and were already planning for what we could find when we came back," said Leah Wilson, the museum's director of marketing and communications.

Wilson says three options for the building are on the table, which the public will have a hand in choosing from.

The first is to repurpose the main building for programs, events and rentals, and build a flood-protected addition for exhibition and library materials.

The second option is similar, except a stand-alone structure would be built for the exhibitions and library.

And the third: create an entirely new flood-protected museum and library, doing away with the old one.

Aside from donations from the Czech Republic, Wilson says a large chunk of the rebuilding money requires the project to move quickly.

"We did receive $10 million from the State of Iowa recently, that was part of the bonding bill that passed. That is something we need to use within about three years."

Some of the surrounding buildings may also be moved away from the river, including the nearby clock tower and immigrant house. 

Though no artifacts will return to the main building, Wilson says the new museum will be more spacious. The museum's board of directors is set to make their final decision by the end of July.

A public input meeting was to be hold at 6 PM at the African American Museum on 12th Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids. Two more will follow on June 23 and July 14.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith



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