Welcome to the Grand River Museum
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 hand tools in all shapes and sizes, as well as a horse drawn carriage. The annex building located east of the museum houses the Moore Monument wagon, the Churchill Truck Lines, Inc. Ford Red Rover truck, the Irvinbilt truck, and an antique fire truck that the children will enjoy!
Outside the general store, we have an 8 feet tall cigar store Indian carved by David Pyrtle. 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.
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.
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.
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.
This hall is dedicated to Chillicothe Main Street. A barn with the appropriate tools and accessories, blacksmith shop, early farm equipment and a hardware store make up one side of the street. The other side of the street consists of a furniture/music store, ladies dress shop, barber and beauty shop. Murals of the Jenkins Hay Rake and Stacker Factory and Webster Street looking toward the old J.C. Penney building, painted by muralist Kelly Poling complete the exhibit space.
Fred Irvin Gallery
Fred Irvin is a realistic illustrator who did magazine covers, advertisements, and story illustrations during the 1940s and 1950s, and moved to animation in the 1970s. Born in Chillicothe, Missouri, he attended the Kansas City Art Institute in 1935 and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts the following year. His career as an illustrator brought him to New York in 1940, where he began his professional career.
In 1998, an annex building was constructed east of the main building. It was made possible through funds donated by the Hedrick Foundation, the Roger A. Browning Foundation, and the American Legion Vern A. Glick Post 25 and Ladies Auxiliary. This building houses our antique vehicles, including the Moore Monument wagon, the Churchill Truck Lines, Inc. Ford truck, the Irvinbilt truck, and an antique fire truck!