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Museum curator finds something new every day
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More photos from this shoot
Photo: John Greenwood/jgreenwood@qconline.com
Angie Snook has spent years and countless hours as the curator/director of the Geneseo Historical Museum, located at 205 South State St. Although the facility has defined hours, Snook is often there from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., arranging special tours, giving talks about the history of the community and keeping up with historical items being donated.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: John Greenwood/jgreenwood@qconline.com
Angie Snook has spent years and countless hours as the curator/director of the Geneseo Historical Museum, located at 205 South State St. Although the facility has defined hours, Snook is often there from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., arranging special tours, giving talks about the history of the community and keeping up with historical items being donated.
When Angie Snook was in college, she didn't know what a museum curator/director was.

But in 1996, Mrs. Snook left a 20-year career in education to become curator/director of the Geneseo Historical Museum.

She studied art and art history, interior design, early childhood development and child psychology at Western Illinois University, Macomb, with a goal of getting a master's degree in art therapy.

She never got the art therapy degree, because, "Like many women of the '60s, some of us cut our career goals short to get married and raise a family."

When her children were ages 2 and 8, she became a preschool teacher at Growth Inc. Preschool in Geneseo, thinking she'd stay there until she landed a job teaching art history.

She stayed at Growth for 20 years. "It brought me great joy and was truly rewarding to watch each child master skills and advance to kindergarten."

While working as a preschool teacher, Mrs. Snook volunteered at the Geneseo Historical Museum, creating displays, doing research and writing newsletters, "or anything that needed to be done," she said.

She said that volunteer time was the creative release she needed. "It was fun, invigorating and satisfied my need for art. I finally found a way to enjoy both art and history. It was more than reading a boring history book and taking a test."

In November 1996, after volunteering at the museum for 20 years and serving as president of the museum board, Mrs. Snook was asked to replace museum curator/director Don Stocks, who had died.

"I knew his shoes would be hard to fill," she said. "He had been in the position for nearly 25 years."

Mrs. Snook said she soon learned "that I was still teaching, but in a different way. Never looking back, I found what I was meant to do in life. I love almost every day of my job. Each day I do something different."

Some days find her exploring history, doing research or logging in new artifacts. Other days, she gives museum tours or presents programs on site and around the area.

"It's heartwarming to hear visitors to the museum share their stories as their memories are triggered by something they see or hear," Mrs. Snook said. "I think I learn more from them than they learn from me.

"It is amazing how family members come back and want to see Aunt Della's Victorian lamp, family settee, great-grandma's wedding dress, grandfather's Army uniform or the painting that once graced the fireplace in their family home," she said.

"It's exciting to share the museum with children. They are little sponges and love being pioneers if only for a day. It is fun to establish in them a love for the past, to see them trying the old-fashioned skills and hearing their giggles."

Mrs. Snook said creating new exhibits is one of her favorite things because it helps keep the museum alive and new. "It's putting together a display that has never before been seen by anyone. My imagination just goes crazy with ideas, and I can mentally see where everything needs to be. To me, being able to do this is a gift."

The museum bought adjoining property and expanded the museum grounds. The Stees-Keppy Education Wing was added in 2010 and, last year, a 3,500-square-foot carriage house was completed. "This summer a new garden with a fountain will be added to the carriage house grounds," Mrs. Snook said.

"I feel I am the luckiest person in the world because I have always loved going to work and meeting the challenges. I have no regrets," she said.

"My life has been like walking through my gardens. There is always something new to see, hear and be inspired by. There is magic and mystery around each corner every day."





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  Today is Friday, Sept. 19, the 262nd day of 2014. There are 103 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Charles M. Osborn of this city, a lawyer of prominence, who voted for Lincoln in 1860 is now out strong for McClellan and will take the stump for him.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The George Fleming company had begun its dried fruit packing in a branch plant on 16th Street, Rock Island, employing nearly a hundred workers.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The cornerstone of the new Eagles home was laid. Building committee members were John Kobeman, Fred Ehmke and Frank Wich.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Former Kaiser Wilhelm, in exile, is sad as the Nazis march with communists.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Ninety-two members of the acappella choir at Davenport's West High School today accepted an invitation to perform at the New York World's Fair on June 13, 1965.
1989 -- 25 years ago: A Rock Island woman is one of 50 winners of $10,000 in cash in the Illinois State Lottery's "Celebration "89" instant ticket game. Dawn Loeffler was the third winner to be chosen through daily drawings that began Aug. 28 and will run 50 consecutive days.






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