Historical Society Unveils Expansion Design

By Tim Schmidt, Record Editor
Posted 11/7/19

The Warren County Historical Society last week unveiled the design of its museum expansion project. The expansion is being funded through a $850,000 gift from the estate of R. Stuart Hummel, of …

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Historical Society Unveils Expansion Design


The Warren County Historical Society last week unveiled the design of its museum expansion project.

The expansion is being funded through a $850,000 gift from the estate of R. Stuart Hummel, of Sonoma, Calif. The donation was announced last May.

The local nonprofit organization was aware of a possible bequest since the early 1990s, but discussions accelerated once Hummel passed away Dec. 16, 2007, at 92. The money is being managed by the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation.

Built in 1982, the existing 3,872-square-foot museum is located at 102 W. Walton, a block south of the courthouse. The museum will nearly double in size after the 3,820-square-foot Hummel addition is completed.

The organization hopes to go out for bids on the project within the next month or two, building committee chairman Walter Schroeder said, and break ground in the fall. The project is expected to be completed by 2011.

The historical society showcased the project’s progress during a gathering held last Tuesday, June 15. The exterior of the Hummel addition will match the brick and stone utilized with the current building and feature a second entrance located behind a courtyard.

“I think it’s going to look wonderful,” Schroeder said. “It’s not going to look like an addition when we get through. That will be the wonderful part.”

The larger addition to the west of the current structure will feature a multipurpose exhibit hall that could seat up to 50 to 60 people, storage room and restrooms. An unfinished basement, measuring 2,770 square feet, will provide space for storage and housing the heating and air-conditioning units, architect Michael Kettelkamp said.

The smaller addition will be located on the south side of the present museum. The 40-foot by 20-foot area will be used for the preparation of displays and exhibits.

The cupola, preserved from the old courthouse, will be relocated to the southwest corner of the new addition.

Kettelkamp, the Hannibal-based architect who designed the project, met two objectives he set by making the addition look as close to the existing structure as possible and doubling the size.

A third objective, which won’t be realized until bids are awarded, is to complete the project within budget.

“You have a beautiful building here,” Kettelkamp said. “The architect in the early 1980s did a wonderful job of giving you a very attractive building. I thought, ‘Why go away from that?’ I wanted to make it look like part of the original.”

The museum’s extra space will allow the historical society to expand its displays and programs and might allow the organization to bring in traveling displays, according to Schroeder.

“There are a lot of possibilities,” he said.

The main stipulation of the bequest made by Hummel is for the addition to be named for his father, William F. Hummel, and his uncle, Arthur W. Hummel. The twin brothers were born near Warrenton on March 6, 1884. Stuart Hummel’s parents and uncle were Methodist missionaries in China for many years.

Stuart Hummel and his wife, Kathleen, who died in 2003, were married for 62 years. The couple had two children, William and Anne.

Warrenton Mayor Greg Costello, who attended last week’s announcement, applauded the historical society for its commitment to preserving local history.

“We’re honored to be the host city of a facility l like this,” he said. “. . .We are extremely lucky and fortunate, a city of this population, to have a historical society and museum of this quality.”