Welcome to the Grand River Historical Society Museum - follow the Chillicothe Business College signs (featured in one of our displays) to learn more! Be sure to visit our Fred Irvin Gallery... see just a few samples here!

Chillicothe Business College - follow the signs to our exhibits at the museum in Chillicothe, Missouri!

Pictured: An orange and black arrow, one of many used in a unique method of outdoor advertising, dominates the Chillicothe Business College exhibit at the Grand River Historical Society Museum. The museum opened a special display about the college in September, 2005, following the dedication ceremony of a historical marker for the college at the corner of Monroe and Springhill streets. C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

Our main building includes a railroad exhibit with a working train whistle, Native American artifacts, antique guns, an iron jail cell, and a mammoth tooth found in Livingston County. The second exhibit room is dedicated to Main Street with displays of a soda fountain, mom and pop grocery store, dental office, barber shop, and beauty shop. This is where the memorabilia from the Chillicothe Business College and Chillicothe High School are also located, as well as the uniforms worn by Livingston County service men and women from every branch of the military. We also have several farm tools in all shapes and sizes. The annex building located east of the museum houses the Moore Monument wagon, the Churchill Truck Lines, Inc. Ford truck, the Irvinbilt truck, and an antique fire truck that the children will enjoy!

Woodcarvings on display include one of a life-sized (8' tall) native American which has been at the museum for many years. The statue was carved from a tree trunk and then painted. Featured below... a photo of a building from the Chillicothe Business College, a jalopy from the annex building where the antique vehicles are stored, and an assortment of displays. 

Other exhibits include the Chillicothe Business College exhibit and the black history display. The Museum is proud to exhibit the largest collection of Fred Irvin paintings in the country. Mr. Irvin, a Chillicothe native graduated from Chillicothe High School and the Kansas City Art Institute and then went on to complete his art training at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art. After spending time in the service he worked in New York where he was affiliated with the Charles E. Cooper Agency. His illustrations were used in, and on the covers of many publications including Readers Digest, Colliers, Elks, American Legion, Vets of Foreign Wars, Motor and others. He also worked inside the Saturday Evening Post but he never completed a cover for them - this was the domain of Norman Rockwell. In the 1960's, he moved to Santa Barbara, California where he worked as a realistic animator for the Walt Disney Studios. Later, he worked as a realistic animator for the Ruby Spears and Hanna Barbara Studios.

Pictured: Gone are the days when soda jerks poured sodas and made ice cream floats behind the bars of their fountains at corner drug stores. However, anyone interested in seeing a soda fountain which was used for decades on Jackson Street is invited to the Grand River Historical Society's Museum.

The 16-foot long soda fountain (complete with eight stools) was originally used in Horn's Drug Store, which later became Miller's Drug Store. It was used for the last time at the Strand Hotel and is one of several new displays at the museum. Richard Smith, former owner of the Strand Hotel, donated the local artifact to the museum this year and guessed Wednesday that the fountain is at least 80 years old, if not older. "I bought it from Mr. (Jesse) Miller in the late 1970s and I decided to put it downstairs in the hotel for the kids to use after school," Smith said. He added that the fountain was used at the hotel from 1979 to 1981 alongside a pinball machine, and other games for children. Smith said that at that time, Miller worked at the hotels front desk and on Friday evenings, he often volunteered to man the fountain downstairs.

A Point in Time: The newly designed exhibit "A Point In Time" displays Native American stone tools dating back 10,000 years. These are exhibited in the form of a Timeline. Floor cases hold additional tools, weapons, and rudimentary household implements. A wall map shows the cultural areas of the Americas with special emphasis on the state of Missouri. The Missouria Indians, for whom the state of Missouri is named, are highlighted in text panels and a wall mural painted by Kelly Poling, local Chillicothe muralist/artist.

"Grandma's House": This exhibit features artifacts from the museum collection re-arranged in the format of a house - circa 1900's. Featured are a parlor, bedroom, kitchen, and indoor bathroom, while hallways provide space for exhibiting additional artifacts and paintings. The exhibit is completed with the "Children's Room" using museum cases to exhibit vintage toys and the "Dining Room" using museum cases and antique china closet to exhibit antique dishes and glassware.

Uniform Exhibit: The museum collection contains uniforms ranging from the Civil War to Afghanistan periods. They have all been worn by Livingston County veterans, both male and female, including all services as well as West Point.

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Pamela Clingerman, Curator
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Open Year Round
Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Tours by appointment.
Great day trip from Kansas City/St. Joseph - just ring the doorbell!

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