A new museum dedicated to the history of Jersey city

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GRAFTON – It might be fair that a museum dedicated to the history of this Jersey County town bears the name of a man who “lived, breathed, ate and slept in Grafton.”

Edward Amburg died in November 2018, before he could see the museum open, but family members of the Grafton native were on hand this month to welcome the Edward Amburg History Museum to the community. .

“There’s no one here that he didn’t know,” said his widow and former Grafton mayor Bobbie Amburg, watching the crowds on opening day.

Grafton Mayor Mike Morrow said the museum is a tribute to one of the city‘s most vocal supporters, one who has been one of the driving forces behind the museum’s development. Edward Amburg was president of the Grafton Historical Society and was also a city councilor.

“Ed Amburg’s legacy is exemplified here,” Morrow said.

The opening hours of the Edward Amburg History Museum are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday to Sunday.


Almost 100 people attended the opening ceremony and Amburg’s name continued to emerge as a driving force and inspiration for the museum that bears his name.

“The grandchildren called him ‘Catfish Ed’,” Amburg’s son Chuck Amburg said.

“Grafton meant everything to my father. He lived in the same neighborhood on a block all 83 years of his life. He never left Grafton for more than three days in a row. My father loved Grafton and always wanted him to prosper.

The history museum was slow in coming as organizers overcame uncertain funding delays and the pandemic to create a monument to Grafton’s past. The museum includes the history of the city’s great flooding, Native American artifacts, period furniture, and historic boats, as well as subjects such as the work of the Grafton Boat Works and duck hunting.

“We are already receiving gifts and donations from the community and from outside the community,” Morrow said. “A recent donation was an original catalog of the boat’s work.”

The Edward Amburg Museum of History is housed in an addition to the Grafton Visitor Center at 950 E. Main St. A 2018 grant of $ 600,000 from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources helped put the development effort on top, and when the grant came in, former mayor Rick Eberlin remembers talking to Edward Amburg about it.

“I saw Ed at his house a few days before his death, to tell him the museum was going to take place,” Eberlin said. “Ed said to me, ‘It’s great, but I won’t be here to see it.’ I’m glad his family is here to see him today.

The Grafton Historical Society has kept many of the exhibits inside the museum, and society historian Flo Rowling said the new facility will help preserve much more.

“We’ve had a lot of delays, but now we have this wonderful building instead of just a room in the visitor center,” Rowling said. “Edward would be proud. We are getting so much that could have been lost and we can’t wait to get more. ”

Former Grafton Mayor Tom Thompson said the effort to create the Edward Amburg History Museum is typical of the city’s community spirit.

“Grafton’s greatest contribution has been the tenacity of its citizens,” said Thompson, referring to the ways in which the city overcame the challenges of the past. “I can’t think of any other place I would rather live.”


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